Dine-in Restaurants, Outdoor Museums and Some Offices Can Reopen in California

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Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica during the coronavirus pandemic

The loosening of restrictions applies to the entire state, though many local jurisdictions, including Los Angeles County, cannot yet allow for such reopenings.

Dine-in restaurants, office-based workplaces, car washes, strip malls, pet grooming businesses and outdoor museums can prepare to reopen with restrictions as California moves deeper into phase two of its statewide COVID-19 recovery plan.

Gov. Gavin Newsom made the announcement Tuesday during his press briefing from Sacramento, where he made it clear that this is a statewide modification to the order but that certain counties may not yet be in a place in the pandemic to see such a return to normalcy.

Los Angeles County — the state’s epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis, representing nearly half of all fatalities and positive cases — is one such area. Department of Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said during a Board of Supervisors meeting that the county will likely stay under more strict safer-at-home orders through July.

“Not everyone is compelled into this phase,” added Newsom. He singled out Butte and El Dorado counties as having met all the guidelines for reopening and will be shifting deeper into the recovery plan and reopening many more businesses.

But in terms of those businesses that are allowed to move into phase two, it won’t be a complete return to normal. Malls, strip malls and outlet malls can only reopen with curbside or outdoor pickup. Offices that don’t allow for teleworking fall into the category of being allowed to reopen.

Newsom kicked off Tuesday’s briefing with an update on testing, reporting that California has surpassed one million COVID-19 tests, one of the key indicators of how quickly the state can move forward with recovery plans. “A million is an important milestone in our efforts,” he said, while also acknowledging the frustration of how long it took for the state, and the rest of the country, to boost capacity. “It’s still not where we need to go. We are going to go as far as we possibly can.”

A month ago, the governor said, California was only administering 2,000 tests per day so officials pushed the reset button, upped the number of testing facilities and moved forward towards a goal of 60,000-80,000 tests per day. Though not there yet, the state has been averaging about 40,000 tests per day over the past few days, said Newsom.

He also encouraged residents to visit the state’s COVID-19 website to find locations to schedule tests, all of which are administered for free.