Reopening California: Here's everything allowed to open in CA (and what's been ordered to close)

ByAlix Martichoux KGO logo
Tuesday, July 21, 2020
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SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- California's stay-at-home order is continually being modified as Gov. Gavin Newsom allowed for more and more sectors of the economy to reopen for business in April, May and June. In July, as coronavirus surged, Newsom dialed back the state's reopening plan and ordered several sectors to shut down again.

Industries that are allowed to reopen don't get a carte blanche. They have to follow a new set of health and safety guidelines if they want to operate during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Here's where reopening stands for every industry in California:

(Note: Local guidelines may be more restrictive, as they are in much of the Bay Area. Even if the state allows a sector to reopen, a county can still enforce its closure.)

Businesses allowed to reopen everywhere in California:

Agriculture and livestock: One of the easier sectors to implement social distancing, agriculture work was never fully shut down since it's vital to the food chain. See the full list of modifications they've made in the name of safety here.

Car dealerships: Auto dealers and rental companies have also stayed open throughout the pandemic. Now they're operating pretty much as normal, but with extra disinfecting and social distancing measures like limiting test drives to one customer and an employee in the car. Full guidelines here.

Childcare facilities: At first, childcare facilities were only allowed to be open for the children of essential workers, with group sizes no larger than 10 staff and children. As they reopen to accept more children, Gov. Gavin Newsom said new social distancing guidelines are coming.

Communications and internet infrastructure: This is another essential sector where it's pretty easy to social distance. See the full guidelines here.

Construction: Since most construction work occurs outdoors and can be done with crews spread out, construction was one of the first industries allowed to resume work. More info here.

Day camps: Summer camps for kids are allowed to restart no sooner than June 12 and only in counties that have achieved attestation from the state. The state recommends limiting campers to small groups that don't intermix, and maintaining distance between kids whenever possible. See the full rules here.

Delivery services: Rules for delivery workers recommend face coverings and cleaning vehicles between routes. See full guidelines here.

Drive-in movie theaters: Vehicles have to be spaced out by 6 feet and concessions should be ordered online or by phone when possible. Drive-in theaters are also discouraged from offering double features in order to avoid people leaving their cars during intermission. More guidance here.

Energy and utilities: The guidelines for utilities include making sure the power grid can accommodate the energy use that will be needed for air conditioning this summer, as well as expanding financial assistance for those who aren't able to pay bills. The major utilities companies in California all said they won't shut off power to those who can't pay during the pandemic. See guidelines here.

Food packing: The rules for meat, dairy and other food packing facilities in California require temperature checks for employees and adjusting production lines to increase physical distancing. See more here.

Labs and research facilities: Hopefully these are the folks working on a vaccine for us all. Since laboratories are often sterile environments, they lend themselves well to new COVID-19 safety measures. Details here.

"Limited services": This is a catch-all category the state created that includes laundromats, auto repair, electricians, plumbers, pet grooming and dog walking. See what the state advises for safe operation here.

Logistics and warehouses: More rules about face coverings, lots of cleaning and staggering breaks to avoid crowding. Details here.

Manufacturing: This was another sector allowed to resume operations in the first phase of reopening, as long as they spread workers out, stagger use of equipment and follow the rest of the guidelines. See more here.

Mining and logging: These industries already have lots of health and safety procedures, and a few more were added in the COVID-19 era. Read more here.

Music, TV and film production: Production is allowed to resume no earlier than June 12 and only in counties that have achieved attestation from the state. The state says labor groups and management should work together to create safety protocols for cast and crew. Back office employees should follow guidelines similar to offices (see below).

Offices: Only certain office spaces, where workers aren't able to telework, are allowed to reopen. However, most offices are being asked to stay closed or severely limit the number of people in the office. See the new rules for offices here.

Outdoor museums: Many counties allowed for outdoor museums and historic sites to reopen in mid-May. Many of them have added plexiglass barriers, floor markings to make sure people stay 6 feet apart and a lower maximum occupancy. They're also required to create a different path for entry and exit so people don't have to pass each other. See the full rules here.

Places of worship: Churches and other places of worship can reopen for in-person religious services at 25% capacity or a maximum of 100 congregants, whichever number is smaller. Services should be held outdoors if possible. More rules here. (NOTE: Indoor gatherings are off limits if a county is on the watch list for three days or more. See more info toward the end of this story.)

Ports: Ports remained open through the shelter-in-place order, as they're essential to the supply chain. Here are the rules they have to follow.

Professional sports (without live audiences): Pro sports teams can resume training and competing after June 12. But the state is pretty light on details when it comes to rules. "To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, athletes, coaching staff, medical staff, broadcasting staff and others at sporting facilities or events should abide by COVID-19 protocols agreed by labor and management, which may be further enhanced by county public health officers. Back office staff should follow office guidelines (see above) and retail workers should follow retail guidelines (see below).

Public transit and rail: Most public transit systems have reduced service due to a decrease in demand, as well as to give crews more time to sanitize buses and trains. Some bus systems are capping the number of people allowed on board and many are requiring face masks to ride. More statewide rules here.

Real estate: The first several weeks of the pandemic forced the cancellation of open houses, but those are now allowed with appointments pretty much everywhere in the state. Properties that are being shown need to be properly disinfected and windows should be opened to ventilate the space. More guidelines here.

Retail: Retailers are allowed to curbside pickup everywhere in the state. In-store shopping is allowed in most counties. Stores need to limit capacity, create barriers between cashiers and customers, close bulk bins, discontinue sampling and more. Details here.

Schools: School districts are being given a lot of flexibility to customize their reopening to plans based on the needs of students and staff. Other than practicing hygiene and regular disinfecting, schools are also being asked to limit the number of surfaces students share contact with, like playgrounds or toys. They're also being asked to space out desks, stagger drop-off times and designate separate routes for kids arriving and leaving so there's not too much crossover. See more guidelines and suggestions here.

Shopping centers and malls: Indoor shopping malls were allowed to open later than other retailers because of the inability to do curbside pickup. They are being asked to turn off shared water fountains and disinfect high-touch surfaces like ATMs, as well as follow these other guidelines.

Businesses allowed to reopen in counties with variance:

In order to reopen certain higher risk sectors, counties have to prove to the state that they have the spread of coronavirus under control. All but two California counties have completed that certification process.

Note: Things get complicated if a county completes that process and achieves variance when trends are looking good, but then lands itself on the watch list because of a spike in coronavirus cases or hospitalizations. That could land them in a fourth category, where they have to close down some of the below businesses again. (See more below under "Businesses ordered to close in counties on the state's watch list.")

Beauty services: Esthetician, body waxing and other beauty services can restart on June 19. They have to follow similar guidelines as tattoo shops, massage parlors and nail salons. See more below.

Campgrounds and outdoor recreation: These are allowed to reopen no sooner than June 12. Campground restroom facilities should be cleaned more regularly " thereby avoiding campers rejecting dirty and unsanitary restrooms and using the outdoors instead," says state guidelines. Grounds that don't already use reservation systems or remote check-in are encouraged to implement them. More guidelines here.

Cardrooms, racetracks and other betting facilities: These are allowed to reopen starting June 12. The new rules are pretty similar to those of casinos (see more below).

Casinos: The state worked with Calfornia's tribal governments to develop new guidelines for casinos to reopen in Phase 3. Casinos can require customers to wear face coverings, provide hand sanitizer dispensers around the casino floor, and make sure employees can stay 6 feet away from guests. A new deck of cards should be used with every dealer rotation and chips should also be removed from service to be disinfected with every new dealer. More rules here.

Entertainment centers: The businesses allowed to resume starting June 12 include movie theaters, bowling alleys, miniature golf, batting cages and arcades. Ice rinks, roller rinks, laser tag arenas, or amusement and theme parks are still not allowed to open.The new rules for movie theaters include capping at 25% capacity, or with a maximum of 100 people, whichever number is lower. Theaters are encouraged to consider taking reservations, close or remove seats to promote physical distancing, and use disposable or washable seat covers. See more guidelines entertainment centers must follow here.

Gyms: Gyms are being told that in order to reopen, they should require patrons to wear face coverings at least while they enter and exit the facility. They can also encourage them to wear masks while working out. Patrons should be required to disinfect the equipment they use (weights, mats, etc.) after using it. Gyms are also encouraged to implement a "check-out system" for smaller equipment like jump ropes or exercise bands. Equipment needs to be spaced out by 6 feet or more. More here.

Hair salons and barbershops: These businesses are allowed to reopen in most, but not all California counties. Masks have to be worn for the entire service and appointments are recommended to avoid overcrowding the space. More rules here.

Hotels: Guests have to be screened for symptoms upon arrival, housekeepers have to wear face coverings and there shouldn't be any shared amenities like ice machines or coffee makers. Starting June 12, hotels and short-term rentals can reopen for tourism in most (but not all) California counties. See more here.

Massage parlors: Starting June 19, massage parlors can reopen with extra disinfecting procedures. Workers and customers both need to wear masks the whole time. Read more here.

Nail salons: Nail salons are allowed to reopen on June 19 and only in counties where health officials allow it. The state says workers and customers must wear face coverings at all times, or a respirator where required. To see full guidelines click here.

Restaurants: Restaurants were always allowed to stay open for takeout, and later were allowed to reopen in most parts of the state for dine-in service. Many counties reopened indoor and outdoor dining, but as of July 13 only outdoor dining is allowed statewide. Servers have to wear masks. Restaurants are also asked to offer disposable menus, pre-rolled cutlery and stop using shared condiments like salt shakers. More details here.

Tattoo and piercing shops: Tattoo and piercing shops have been given the green light to reopen June 19 but only in counties where health officials allow it. Customers and tattoo artists must wear face masks at all times during the procedure. Piercing and tattooing services for the mouth/nose area has been suspended. To see more guidelines click here.

Wineries: Tasting rooms have to follow the same rules as bars, plus they have a few additional things to consider: a new glass for each pour, ditching communal dump buckets or spittoons, and making sure not to touch the neck of the bottle to the glass when pouring wine.

Zoos, aquariums and indoor museums: Museums have to discontinue renting audio guides to guests unless they can be properly disinfected between uses. Interactive exhibits with lots of high-touch surfaces should also be closed. The rest of the rules are pretty standard physical distancing and disinfecting guidelines. See them here.

Businesses ordered to close everywhere in California, as of July 13:

On July 13, Gov. Newsom ordered a major rollback of the state's reopening plan in attempt to curb the rampant spread of COVID-19. Those sectors include:

  • Bars (both indoor and outdoor)
  • Indoor restaurant dining
  • Indoor wineries and tasting rooms
  • Movie theaters
  • Other indoor family entertainment centers, like bowling alleys and laser tag
  • Indoor museums and zoos
  • Cardrooms

Businesses ordered to close in counties on the state's watch list:

Newsom ordered even more business sectors to close in county's that are on the state's monitoring list for more than three days. See the full watch list here. The businesses that have to close in those counties include:

  • Gyms
  • Indoor hair salons and barbershops
  • Indoor nail salons and other personal care services
  • Indoor malls
  • Non-essential offices
  • Indoor places of worship

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What's not allowed to reopen anywhere in California?

The state has not released guidelines for the following sectors:

  • Concert venues
  • Festivals
  • Higher education
  • Live audience sports
  • Live theater
  • Nightclubs
  • Theme parks

We'll continue to update this story as the governor allows for more sectors to reopen with modifications. Check back for updates.