Newsom Administration Announces Statewide Move into Stage 2 of Pandemic Roadmap, Details Local Variance Processes

This week, the Newsom Administration announced a series of actions as the state moves into Stage 2 of California’s Pandemic Resilience Roadmap, allowing certain businesses to reopen as soon as today. Below, we highlight those actions:

Statewide Report Card

On Monday, Governor Gavin Newsom released a report card detailing how the state has made progress in meeting key indicators for moving into Stage 2. Specifically, California is on track in the areas of hospitalizations, PPE inventory, healthcare surge capacity, testing capacity, contact tracing capacity, and public health guidance.

With this progress, the Newsom Administration determined the state is ready to begin its early moves into Stage 2 of the roadmap by allowing certain curbside retail, manufacturing, and logistics businesses to reopen statewide if they can meet guidelines detailed by the state. Among the businesses that can reopen as early as today are bookstores, clothing stores, florists, and sporting goods stores. Notably, other sectors such as offices, dine-in restaurants, shopping malls, and schools are part of a later Stage 2 opening (or available through local variances).

To support this move, CDPH Director and State Public Health Office Dr. Sonia Angell on Thursday evening issued an updated statewide public health order detailing the statewide move into Stage 2 and processes for reopening specific sectors.

Local Variance Processes

As part of the Newsom Administration’s announcement this week on the statewide move into Stage 2, counties are provided the opportunity to move more quickly through Stage 2 under an attestation that they meet a series of state readiness criteria. Moving more quickly into Stage 2 will allow certain jurisdictions to reopen specified sectors and settings, including destination retail settings (e.g. shopping malls and swap meets), personal services (limited to car washes, pet grooming, tanning facilities, landscape gardening), office-based businesses, dine-in restaurants, outdoor museums and open gallery spaces, and schools and childcare settings.

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued a memo to county governments detailing requirements of local jurisdictions in assessing its readiness for variance. Local governments must submit a variance attestation form to CDPH which will be posted publicly on CDPH’s website.

Local jurisdictions wishing to move more quickly through Stage 2 must attest through the form that the jurisdiction meets readiness criteria around epidemiologic stability, protection of Stage 1 essential workers, testing capacity, containment capacity, hospital capacity, vulnerable populations, sectors and timelines, and triggers for adjusting modifications. CDPH is also strongly encouraging local jurisdictions requesting variance to develop COVID-19 containment plans around surge capacity, employee and workplace protections, and special considerations.

Industry-Specific Guidelines

The Newsom Administration also rolled out industry-specific guidance for each early Stage 2 business that is allowed to reopen. To be allowed to reopen, specified businesses must perform a detailed risk assessment and implement a site-specific protection plan, train employees on how to limit the transmission of COVID-19, implement individual control measures and screenings, implement disinfecting protocols, and implement physical distancing guidelines. Guidelines, including checklists, are available for 17 industries, including agriculture and livestock, construction, manufacturing, and retail. 

Notably, the Administration continues to specify industries and businesses that are not in Stage 1 or 2 due to higher risk associated with the businesses; among the industries included are personal services (e.g. nail salons, tattoo parlors, gyms, and fitness studios), hospitality services (e.g. bars and lounges), entertainment venues (e.g. movie theaters, gaming facilities, and pro sports), indoor museums, kids museums and gallery spaces, zoos, and libraries, community centers (e.g. public pools, playgrounds, and picnic areas), religious services and cultural ceremonies, nightclubs, concert venues, festivals, theme parks, and hotels/lodging for leisure and tourism.

Additional information from the Newsom Administration is available here and here.