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State Grants Variances, New Guidelines For Further Stage 2 Businesses To Reopen

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Sacramento, CA – Six Northern California counties have been given the go-ahead to move further into Stage 2 openings, and Gov. Gavin Newsom outlined the guidelines for those businesses at his daily COVID-19 briefing.

The new modifications to the state’s stay at home order will allow more businesses to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic, some of those include dine-in restaurants, shopping malls and offices. As for restaurants, those that have mostly been open for takeout can now allow customers to dine-in (with new restrictions). The state reports that breweries, brewpubs, wineries, and other bars can only reopen if they are serving sit-down meals, and alcohol can only be served as part of a meal. For now, all of this only applies to counties afforded a variance.

The eateries must take several precautions. The state suggests restaurants frequently disinfect surfaces and reconfigure their space to maximize physical distancing. But California is not setting a cap on individual restaurants’ maximum capacity. Restaurants should ensure workers that need to be within 6 feet of customers wear masks and wash their hands more often. They should prioritize outdoor seating if possible, and the guidelines say bar areas should remain closed. Dirty linens should be thrown away after each use by an individual party.

Workers should be screened or screen themselves for symptoms before their shift begins and stay home if they are sick.

There will be several changes for customers, with the state guidelines recommend restaurants even screen diners, though it does not give explicit rules on how. Restaurants are asked to display clear signs urging customers to use hand sanitizer and wear face masks when not eating. Guests will only get cutlery, napkins and other table settings as needed, and traditional salt, pepper or ketchup bottles likely will not be on tables. Menus may be disposable or digital. Further details can be found here.

New guidelines for shopping malls (for pickup only) can be found here.

Regarding the six counties that were given variances, they include Butte, El Dorado, Lassen, Nevada, Placer and Shasta. Tuolumne, detailed here and Calaveras county here, have submitted attestation variances along with 25 other counties asking the state for similar approval to reopen more quickly. The governor adds that more approvals are expected soon.

Moving into Phase 3 will take a while longer and Newsom notes, “We are not there, Phase 3, yet, but there are parts of the state that can and are moving deeper through Phase 2. I hope that is an encouraging sign both from a health and economic perspective.”



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