Bay Area Will Not Follow CA Reopening Schedule

Bea Karnes

BAY AREA — Bay Area health officers were quick to say not-so-fast after Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled details for phase two of his plan to lift coronavirus restrictions and reopen California. They warned residents Thursday that regional coronavirus shelter-in-place guidelines will remain in place through at least May 31 despite the governor's announced changes to the state's order.

While state health guidelines will allow more restaurants and retail stores to operate with curbside pickup and delivery, health officers from Berkeley and Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, Santa Clara and San Mateo counties will continue to prohibit curbside pick-up at non-essential, non-outdoor businesses.

"We need to continue to work together so those sacrifices don't go to waste," the seven jurisdictions said in a joint statement. "It is critical to maintain our gains."

During a Thursday afternoon news conference, Newsom and state Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said that the state will slightly loosen its health and safety guidelines starting Friday, allowing manufacturing facilities, some retail stores and other "low-risk" businesses and industries to resume operating, provided that they enforce state health guidelines like physical distancing.

The Bay Area's revised order that went into effect Monday only permits businesses that operate primarily outside to resume operating. As a result, construction projects and real estate transactions could be completed and retail nurseries, landscapers and gardeners could reopen for business.

However, the joint statement makes clear that health concerns will take priority over economic ones, "The coronavirus pandemic is still well underway. Our communities will be dealing with it for a long time to come," they said. "We will continue to work with our community and business leaders to accomplish careful, measured progress that allows us to maintain our gains as we move forward to further reopening and better times ahead."

Meanwhile, at the state level Newsom and Ghaly said state officials are discussing how to safely allow the resumption of seated dining in restaurants and the operation of shopping malls, offices that have not been able to work from home, and outdoor museums.

State officials have monitored six factors in deciding when to begin reopening the state's economy, including the number of coronavirus tests conducted each day, the strain on the state's hospital system, and the state's capacity to vacillate between strict and looser shelter-in-place guidelines.

Newsom said more than 843,000 coronavirus tests have been conducted across the state and the state is averaging around 30,000 tests per day, half of the state's goal of 60,000 to 80,000 tests daily.

The spike in testing has allowed multiple jurisdictions — including Los Angeles, Napa and Contra Costa counties — to make coronavirus tests available to all residents, not only those with symptoms or a doctor's referral.

"This is an iterative process," Newsom said of reopening the economy. "It is a dynamic process. This is not etched in stone. We want to continue to work with people across sectors and to address unintended, not just intended, consequences of these meaningful modifications to the stay-at-home order."

As of Thursday at 2:45 p.m., officials have confirmed the following number of cases in the greater Bay Area region:

  • Alameda County: 1,917 cases, 67 deaths (1,863 cases, 66 deaths on Wednesday)
  • Contra Costa County: 999 cases, 29 deaths (985 cases, 29 deaths on Wednesday)
  • Marin County: 247 cases, 14 deaths (243 cases, 14 deaths on Wednesday)
  • Monterey County: 247 cases, 6 deaths (241 cases, 6 deaths on Wednesday)
  • Napa County: 78 cases, 2 deaths (78 cases, 2 deaths on Wednesday)
  • San Francisco County: 1,806 cases, 32 deaths (1,754 cases, 31 deaths on Wednesday)
  • San Mateo County: 1,377 cases, 56 deaths (1,341 cases, 56 deaths on Wednesday)
  • Santa Clara County: 2,281 cases, 127 deaths (2,268 cases, 126 deaths on Wednesday)
  • Santa Cruz County: 139 cases, 2 deaths (138 cases, 2 deaths on Wednesday)
  • Solano County: 337 cases, 7 deaths (325 cases, 6 deaths on Wednesday)
  • Sonoma County: 286 cases, 3 deaths (272 cases, 3 deaths on Wednesday)
  • Statewide: 61,902 cases, 2,525 deaths (58,815 cases, 2,412 deaths on Wednesday)

— Patch editor Bea Karnes and Bay City News contributed to this story

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This article originally appeared on the San Francisco Patch