California Reopens In-Store Retail Shopping as COVID-19 Restrictions Loosen

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Individual counties' public health departments have the final say on whether the change can be implemented in their areas.

If approved by counties' respective public health departments, California retail stores can reopen for business state-wide with special safety measures in place to protect against the spread of coronavirus.

The California Department of Public Health announced the change on Monday, nearly two weeks after Los Angeles began allowing some retail stores to open their doors for curbside pickup; L.A. has not yet announced whether it will approve retail stores to resume operations. Some counties have already begun reintroducing in-store retail shopping, but the CDPH's order applies to all counties.

Stores that wish to reopen in counties that allow the change must follow the states' guidance for retailers protocols. Those guidelines include providing temperature and symptom checks for employees and other workers entering the business as well as frequently disinfecting surfaces and introducing measures to ensure six feet between workers and customers.

"Together, our actions have helped bend the curve and reduce infections in our state. As sectors continue to open with changes that aim to lower risk, remember that COVID-19 is still present in our communities," Dr. Sonia Angell, the state's public health officer and director of the California Department of Public Health, said in a statement. "As more of us may be leaving our homes, keeping physical distance, wearing face coverings in public, and washing your hands frequently are more important than ever to help protect yourself and those around you."

The change was revealed along with the state's announcement that places of worship can reopen at 25 percent capacity, or up to 100 attendees, with modifications to prevent the pandemic's spread. Gov. Gavin Newsom also previously said that California would unveil its film and TV production guidelines on Monday. 

As of Monday, California has had 94,558 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 3,795 deaths as a result of the pandemic. As the state looks to ramp up testing, 1,644,102 tests have been conducted so far.