Gov. Gavin Newsom today approved Orange County’s request for the reopening of Phase 2 businesses, including in-restaurant dining and shopping centers, as the county’s toll from the coronavirus pandemic continued its recent spike.
The following types of businesses were permitted to move forward with reopening as of 12:01 a.m. Saturday:
- Restaurants (in-person dining)
- Outdoor museums
- Limited personal services (car washes, pet groomers, tanning salons, gardening services)
The businesses permitted to reopen must comply with safety protocols set by the state.
“I am extremely pleased we were able to successfully demonstrate that Orange County met the state’s requirements and I am grateful to the state for the quick turnaround in the approval process ahead of the Memorial Day weekend,” County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett said.
As the governor’s decision was announced, the county’s health officer issued a new order and additional strong recommendations to help slow the spread of COVID-19 as more businesses move toward re-opening.
The order requires all persons to wear face coverings when in public, and also mandates self-isolation for all those with COVID-19, and self-quarantine for all those who have been exposed to COVID-19.
The county’s Phase 2 reopening is happening amid a recent uptick in the reported number of COVID-19 cases and fatalities.
On Saturday, officials with the OC Health Care Agency reported another 216 new COVID-19 cases and 12 additional deaths, raising the county’s totals to 5,157 cases and 130 fatalities. Forty-two deaths have been reported in the last 4 days alone.
Most of the deaths stem from outbreaks in skilled nursing facilities, local health officials say.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles County—which has a quarter of the state’s nearly 40 million residents and accounts for half of its COVID-19 cases—has not met standards to reopen more businesses.
County officials do not expect to reopen more widely until the next summer holiday, July 4th, because it has a disproportionately large share of the state’s coronavirus cases and can’t meet even new, relaxed state standards for allowing additional businesses and recreational activities.
In recent days, death and hospitalization trends have improved, but on Friday the White House coronavirus response coordinator named LA as a region where spread of the virus is a concern. Dr. Deborah Birx asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help look into the source of new cases to help prevent future outbreaks.
Los Angeles is among a small number of California’s 58 counties that either have not sufficiently contained the virus to reopen more activities and commerce or, in the case of several San Francisco Bay Area counties, have chosen to move more slowly.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
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