Coronavirus Stage 2 reopening: 47 counties in California given green light to reopen schools, restaurants and malls

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The state of California released new guidelines for reopening dine-in restaurants, shopping malls and office buildings as part of Phase 2 of reopening the economy. But not all counties are allowed to charge full speed ahead.

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Some sectors are allowed to reopen (with modifications) everywhere in the state, as long as the county gives the green light. Those sectors include retail (for curbside pickup), manufacturing, logistics, childcare facilities, offices where people can't telework, car washes, pet groomers, landscapers and outdoor museums.

However, if a county wants to open schools, dine-in restaurants or shopping malls, they have to go through an attestation process, in which they certify the spread of COVID-19 is under control locally.

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So far, 47 of California's 58 counties have been approved by the state to reopen those three areas: Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Del Norte, El Dorado, Fresno, Glenn, Humboldt, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Lake, Lassen, Madera, Mariposa, Mendocino, Merced, Modoc, Mono, Napa, Nevada, Orange, Placer, Plumas, Riverside, Sacramento, San Benito, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Tuolumne, Ventura, Yolo and Yuba counties.

(Editor's Note: This story originally reported seven counties had been approved to move further into Stage 2 on May 13. We have continued to update the story as more counties get the green light.)

Notably missing from the list are the more densely populated Bay Area counties, as well as Los Angeles County.

In order to be approved for further reopening, counties have to prove to the state they meet the following criteria:
  • Stable or decreasing hospitalization rate OR no more than 20 people hospitalized in the county for the last 14 days

  • No more than 25 individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 per 100,000 residents over past 14 days

  • Test positivity rate of less than 8%

  • Essential workers must have access to PPE

  • A minimum capacity of 1.5 tests per 1,000 residents daily

  • At least 15 contact tracers per 100,000 residents

  • Ability to temporarily house 15% of the county's homeless population

  • Hospitals are equipped to handle a 35% surge at minimum

  • Nursing facilities have a two-week supply of PPE

  • Continue to monitor metrics to potentially re-enact restrictions


Regardless of where they open in the state, restaurants, shopping centers and schools will have to follow strict guidelines to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

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Higher risk businesses, where the spread of COVID-19 is more likely, are not allowed to open anywhere in the state. That includes salons, barbershops, gyms and entertainment venues.

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