[guest post by Dana]
Given that number of state residents who have been hospitalized for coronavirus has remained stable, as well as the state continuing to build up its inventory of PPE and increased testing capacity, Gov. Newsom of California announced today that the state would start to reopen this week with conditions:
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that California will allow some retail businesses to reopen with modifications as early as Friday, amid encouraging coronavirus benchmarks.
“We are entering into the next phase this week,” Newsom said in his daily press briefing Monday. “This is a very positive sign and it’s happened only for one reason: The data says it can happen.”
Those businesses that can reopen Friday will have to abide to restrictions, such as physical distancing and delivering orders at the curbside. Detailed guidelines about the Phase 2 reopening will be released on Thursday, according to Newsom.
While the retail businesses include clothing, sporting goods, books, toy, music stores and florist shops, it excludes malls, offices or in-house dining at restaurants.
Newsom is avoiding a one-size-fits-all mandate. Phase 2 will give local officials more leeway in deciding how to proceed with the re-opening of their cities. But any plans will have to meet a criteria established by the state, which includes:
… the capacity on testing, their capacity on tracing, the capacity on physical distancing and sanitation, and their capacity to protect the most vulnerable residents in their community.
Newsom is also planning to cover the statewide need for trackers and tracers of the disease:
Newsom shared his plan for a “tracing army” in the state — a training program led by the University of California Los Angeles and University of California San Francisco that will teach people how to trace and track the disease through a virtual academy.
Each recruit will go through 20 hours of training, 12 hours online and eight hours in person.
Approximately 3,000 people have been identified as tracers already and are set to begin their first training course, which goes online Wednesday, Newsom said. The first phase will train about 10,000 people, with a goal of reaching 20,000 tracers.
The governor warned, however, that if coronavirus cases increase, the state would intervene in the reopening process.
On a side note, here is a good look at how difficult it is for restaurant workers to follow their establishment’s checklist when guests are eating in-house. These are the guidelines from a regional chain of restaurants in Tennessee:
Temperature checks for every guest and employee before they enter.
Question every guest about potential COVID-19 symptoms or exposure to the coronavirus.
Ask people to take their food from the server trays themselves — and put it back on the trays when they’re done.
If they don’t want to do that, the server needs to place and remove the plates using “whatever means possible to distance themselves.”
Servers have to replace their gloves every time they service another table.
They have to wash their hands before replacing the gloves.
They have to wash their hands after handling money.
They have to wash their hands after every credit card transaction.
They have to wash their hands every time they return to the dining room.
A server’s personal observations on the feasibility of the guidelines:
A server at an O’Charley’s restaurant in Tennessee that reopened Thursday said very little of this is actually happening because of the lack of staff and resources.
“I don’t think we should have opened,” the server, who did not wish to be identified for fear of losing her job, told BuzzFeed News. “There’s no possible way for us employees to do what they’re asking us to do. It’s just not possible.”
The server said “we’re not doing the social distancing thing.”
“I can’t be 6 feet away,” she said, referring to customers.
She said she is wearing gloves and a mask, but the “masks we’re using are the ones we pretty much made ourselves.”
She handles all the money in the restaurant and said it was impossible to wash her hands after every transaction.
Servers are not replacing their gloves every time they service a different table, she said, adding, “It’s not even in the back of our minds.”
She said she does not have the time to wash her hands each time she runs from the kitchen to the dining room. And she said nobody’s temperature is being checked because the restaurant does not have thermometers.