On Monday, the California Department of Health released new health and safety guidelines for in-store retail, allowing counties to expand retail re-openings.
The reopening announcement, which also brought forth new reopening guidelines for houses of worship, made it clear that businesses would have to adhere to numerous new and updated rules.
Social distancing to the maximum will still need to be kept in place, with 6 feet being the standard amount. Face coverings will remain mandatory for all employees, with customers only “strongly recommended” to wear them. Frequent hand washing and disinfectant policies will also remain in place. All stores cannot have more than 50% capacity, with any extant customers having to wait in a line 6 feet apart outside. Employees will also be regularly screened for health, such as temperature checks, before coming in.
While businesses will mostly follow the same guidelines as houses of worship when reopening, a big key difference would be the need for a business-unique COVID-19 prevention plan. This can include different levels of training, cleaning procedures and other measures tailored to the needs of the business while staying within state guidelines. It will also allow businesses to go father than what the guidelines state, such as having customers wear mandatory face masks or increased employee wellness checks.
“Modifications are required to keep Californians safe and limit the spread of COVID-19,” the California Department of Health said during the guideline announcement.
Governor Gavin Newsom took to Twitter to help announce the new statewide guidelines. Newsom, who is due to announce another Phase of re-openings across the state soon, emphasized the continuing need to flatten the coronavirus curve while also expressing the need to reopen the state.
“Counties can now begin re-opening houses of worship and in-store shopping for retail. CA has continued to flatten the curve because folks are staying home, practicing physical distancing, and taking this seriously,” tweeted Newsom on Monday. “Let’s keep it up.”
NEW: Counties can now begin re-opening houses of worship and in-store shopping for retail.
CA has continued to flatten the curve because folks are staying home, practicing physical distancing, and taking this seriously.
Let’s keep it up.
LEARN MORE: https://t.co/KgYLbjTh3t
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) May 25, 2020
Business owners were excited following Monday’s announcement, while also expressing some safety concerns.
“Right now it’s only been pickups and online orders,” said spice shop owner Kelsey O’Dell. “It hasn’t been enough. This will help bring things to about normal. People are baking like crazy right now too, so I may even hit the black.”
“I have two children at home, and I’ve been seriously considering a delay to make sure the virus is essentially gone, but as long as the new guidelines are kept, we should be fine.”
“It’s a sigh of relief for sure, but I don’t want to inhale the virus on the breath back in, right?”
Counties are expected to begin approving re-openings that meet the new guidelines in the coming weeks.