California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday said the state could soon allow haircuts and professional sporting events without spectators as health officials are encouraged by an overall decrease in hospitalizations for coronavirus.
In a news conference from Napa, Newsom didn’t give a specific date for changes but said the state’s stay-at-home orders will be significantly modified over the next few weeks. The state will also ease requirements that will allow some counties to move forward at their own pace for reopening, he said, noting that 53 of California’s 58 counties should be eligible additional openings—although Los Angeles County, with its relatively high rate of cases will likely not be one of those.
“We’re going to see a lot more activity, but we’re going to have to do it thoughtfully and strategically,” Newsom said.
Newsom noted that overall hospitalizations were down 7.5% and intensive care unit cases were down 8.7% in last 14 days.
Newsom said sporting events with no gathering spectators could likely kick off in early June, and people could get haircuts statewide in a matter of weeks.
Counties, however, have the ability keep more strict regulations than the ones Newsom said were coming. And ones who want to move more quickly than the statewide rules will be required to meet requirements before they can open at their own pace.
Under the requirements, counties must not have a more than a 5% increase in hospitalizations over a seven-day average. Counties also must not have more than 25 new positive cases per 100,000 residents over the past 14 days, and the rate of positive tests per number of those tested must be under 8%.
Under these requirements, Long Beach, which has its own health department, would not be able to move into the next phase of reopening.
Mayor Robert Garcia addressed this at his Monday press briefing, reiterating that the city and county do not qualify for quicker reopening, however he said discussions are underway about measures that can be taken to reopen some functions to mitigate some of the financial losses businesses have incurred over the past two months.
A conference call is planned for Thursday with stylists and others in the personal grooming industry to discuss how to reopen safely, he said.
While statewide hospitalization numbers are dropping, Long Beach has seen a slight increase. The city on Sunday reported 66 people hospitalized, up from 61 people on Saturday. While the number is relatively small compared to the city’s population of half million, officials have said hospitalizations are a key indicator for how the fight against coronavirus is going.
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