Newsom signs executive order to send every registered Californian a mail-in ballot

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order Friday to send every registered voter in California a mail-in ballot for the November presidential election.

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The election won't be vote-by-mail only; those who still want to vote in-person will be able to do so. The governor said detailed guidelines on how in-person voting will work are forthcoming.

California is the first state in the nation to commit to sending everyone mail-in ballots amid the coronavirus pandemic, said Secretary of State Alex Padilla.

"There's no safer, physically distancing, healthier way to exercise your right to vote than from the safety and convenience of your own home," Padilla said.

All return postage will be prepaid.

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Newsom's comments Friday came as the state moves into Stage 2 of reopening businesses and manufacturing.

The second phase roll-out has been patchwork and confusing across the state. While some counties have had businesses reopened for days, others in the Bay Area are opting to wait longer before allowing retailers to resume operations. And all over the state, some businesses have been doing unofficial curbside pickup for weeks.

As retail starts to reopen, the governor encouraged Californians to support local business over larger chains.

"Look out for your neighborhood florist. Look out for your neighborhood business. They need your support and they haven't gotten the kind of support they deserve. You will be determinative of whether or not they survive," he said. "So if it means you gotta go an extra block or two, seek them out, find them, make some calls ... don't just go to that big box retailer. They've had a little advantage on things like this and it's time to re-balance things."

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According to state guidelines put out by the Department of Public Health, retail businesses, such as book stores, clothing stores, toy stores and florists, can reopen for curbside pickup starting Friday. In order to do so, they are being asked to develop contactless payment procedures, have hand sanitizer available for employees and customers, ensure employees have proper protective gear, and ask employees to deliver goods to customers' cars when possible.

Manufacturing is also allowed to start back up again as long as workers can maintain physical distance and have access to face coverings and/or gloves. Break rooms should be closed and replaced with outdoor break areas with spaced out seating, where possible.

The logistics sector, which includes warehouses and deliveries, is being asked to follow similar guidelines.

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"Roughly 70% of the economy in the state of California can open with modifications into this next phase," said Newsom Friday. "I know 70% is not 100%, and I recognize that 'with modifications' means 'with restrictions' and 'with restrictions' means a struggle for businesses to get back where they were pre-pandemic."

The state is working on developing guidelines that will allow office buildings, dine-in restaurants, shopping malls and outdoor museums to reopen next. Gov. Newsom teased he'll be releasing guidelines for dine-in restaurants next Tuesday, May 12.

Even more openings, such as nail salons and barbershops, could also be on the horizon.

"Phase 3 is not a year away. It's not 6 months away. It's not even three months away. It may not even be more than a month away. We just want to make sure we have a protocol in place to secure customer safety, employee safety and allow the businesses to thrive in a way that is sustainable," Newsom said.

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