Reopening California: Everything we know about CA businesses opening and what comes next

California's cautious rollout of new rules has left a lot of people scratching their heads. Here's a breakdown of what we know - and what we don't know - about how the state is reopening.
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- As the curve of novel coronavirus cases in California has effectively flattened, the conversation has shifted from how to contain the deadly virus to how we might reach a new normal of sorts.

Gov. Gavin Newsom began easing restrictions at the state level very slowly, but then picked up the pace in June. In recent weeks, the governor has announced several modifications to the state's stay-at-home order to phase in the reopening of more sectors of the economy.

But California's rollout of new rules has left a lot of people scratching their heads. Here's a breakdown of what we know - and what we don't know - about how the state is reopening.

The Four Stages


California plans to reopen its economy in four phases:

Stage 1: Everyone is either staying at home or a member of the essential workforce

Stage 2: Reopening lower risk workplaces, including:

  • Non-essential manufacturing (toys, furniture, clothing, etc.)

  • Schools

  • Childcare facilities

  • Retail businesses for curbside pick-up

  • Offices where working remotely isn't possible, but can be modified to make the environment safer for employees

Stage 3: Reopening higher risk workplaces, which require close proximity to other people, including:

  • Hair salons

  • Nail salons

  • Gyms

  • Movie theaters

  • Sporting events without live audiences

  • In-person religious services (churches and weddings)

Stage 4: Ending the stay-at-home order, which would allow for the reopening of:

  • Concert venues

  • Convention centers


  • Sporting events with live audiences

What stage are we in now?


Most of the state has entered intoStage 3 with the reopening of hair salons, gyms, churches and even gyms. But several California counties are still required to take it slower, including much of the Bay Area.

What businesses are allowed to operate and which aren't?


At the beginning of May, Bay Area counties loosened restrictions to allow some outdoor businesses, like construction, retail nurseries, landscapers and gardeners, to resume because they were considered lower risk for spreading the virus.

INTERACTIVE: What will gyms, restaurants and air travel look like after the COVID-19 pandemic?

Starting May 8, bookstores, clothing stores, toy stores, florists and other similar retailers were allowed to start doing curbside pickup only. That means no in-store browsing. Manufacturers and logistics operations (like warehouses) were also allowed to reopen May 8, as long as they follow strict new guidelines. Read more about the new rules businesses have to follow here. (Note: Many parts of the Bay Area chose to move more slowly into this part of Stage 2 reopening than the timeline outlined by the state.)

On May 12, the governor released guidelines for counties to reopen shopping malls, dine-in restaurants and some office buildings, as long as they attest to the state that COVID-19 is under control locally. Since May 12, counties have slowly been reopening those parts of the economy, as well as outdoor museums, car washes and pet grooming services.

As of May 25, in-store retail businesses and places of worship are both allowed to reopen as long as the county says it's ok.

On May 26, the state released guidelines for hair salons and barbershops. Those are allowed to reopen only in counties that have received approval from the state, which has been granted for all but seven counties (as of June 5).

Starting on June 12, schools, day camps, bars, gyms, movie theaters and other entertainment centers, professional sports and TV/music/film production were all allowed to resume with modifications.

Starting June 19, nail salons, tattoo shops, massage parlors and other beauty services are allowed to reopen.

When will we move further into Stage 3?


On June 19, the final Phase 3 businesses will be allowed to reopen: nail salons, tattoo parlors, massage parlors, body waxing and other personal services. With those businesses reopening, every business in Stage 3 is allowed to open at the state level (though some counties still have stricter restrictions in place).

RELATED: 'Depression-era numbers': California's recovery from COVID-19 crisis will take years, Newsom warns

What do we NOT know?


While there are lots of unknowns about the implementation of Stage 3, the biggest question may be what the Bay Area will do in response. Gov. Newsom has made it clear that localities can decide to move faster or slower than the state's reopening timeline.

As many Bay Area counties are still stuck in Stage 2, it wouldn't be surprising if they also decided to hold off on the Stage 3 reopenings slated for June.

Is it possible we move back a stage?


Yes. The state may decide to enact stricter shelter-in-place restrictions if coronavirus cases start to spike.

ABC7 News streams Gov. Gavin Newsom's press conferences live on abc7news.com, Facebook and YouTube. Note he no longer holds the updates daily.

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