Health officials warn to 'keep guard up' as California moves closer to fully reopening

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- With Governor Gavin Newsom's announcement that California's economy could fully reopen by mid-June, businesses in downtown San Jose have a lot to look forward to.

"We're going to stand together and we're going to do something fantastic and great here," said Rodney Baca, who together with his wife Madeline, opened The Shop by Chef Baca on Fountain Alley two weeks ago.

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California's reopening is contingent on sufficient vaccine supply and if hospitalizations are stable and low. But with the two-month warning, businesses can better anticipate their needs for future staffing.

"It's so much more helpful to know that there's kind of a goal post that hopefully won't move this time and we can now put a plan in place," said Randy Musterer, owner of Sushi Confidential near San Pedro Square.

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Counties will have the ultimate authority over whether to impose stricter regulations at the local level. Santa Clara County recently said it would align itself with the state regulations but offered a word of caution.

"Just because everything may be open doesn't mean that everything is now safe, so it just means that we need to keep our guard up, and that if we do participate in any activities that we just don't feel that comfortable in, that we either don't do them, or make you've got your mask on and you're social distancing," said Dr. Marty Fenstersheib, Santa Clara County COVID-19 vaccine and testing officer.

Some health experts believe the reopening is happening too soon, but say they're not going to second guess the governor.

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"The vaccines are very safe and very effective, but they're not 100% effective," said Dr. Dean Winslow, an infectious disease expert at Stanford School of Medicine, who was recently appointed to serve as a senior advisor at the CDC. "I think that it would still give me a little pause I think to particularly go to a crowded bar, or an indoor concert, or even a restaurant if it's at full capacity."

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