The Ukiah Daily Journal

18 counties to get go-ahead on Phase 2 reopening

- By Evan Webeck

Eighteen of California’s 58 counties have now received the green light to move forward with more rapid reopening of their economies.

By meeting extensive criteria set by the state health department, these counties will be allowed to move through Phase 2 of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s plan at an accelerate­d rate but can’t move on to Phase 3. The list of counties has grown each day since Newsom announced the Phase 2 plans earlier this week.

The counties to have met the readiness criteria Thursday morning were mostly rural: Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, El Dorado, Glenn, Lassen, Nevada, Mariposa, San Benito, Placer, Plu

mas, Shasta, Sierra, Tehama, Tuolumne, Yuba, and Sutter.

What does that mean? Dine-in eating at restaurant­s is allowed to return, but their bar areas must remain closed — same goes for standalone bars. Shopping malls and other destinatio­n retail can reopen, but indoor museums, zoos and libraries will remain closed. Schools — with modificati­ons — may reopen, but university campuses cannot.

To receive the OK, counties (usually their public health director) were required to submit a 12-page “local variance attestatio­n,” along with letters of support from their boards of supervisor­s, local hospital officials and optional — but “strongly recommende­d” — questions on future containmen­t strategy. Some submission­s have run longer than 50 pages.

The form sets forth a number of criteria counties are required to meet to prove their “readiness.”

• 1 or fewer cases per 10,000 residents the past 14 days

• No deaths for the past 14 days

• Minimum daily testing of 1.5 per 1,000 residents, with recommenda­tion of 2 per 1,000

• Testing sites within 30 minutes of 75% of urban residents and 60 minutes of 75% of rural residents

• 15 contact tracers for every 100,000 residents

• Temporary housing available for 15% of population experienci­ng homelessne­ss

• Hospital capacity for 35% surge in COVID-19 patients

• A “robust” plan to protect hospital workers and provide personal protective equipment

• A 14-day supply and a documented supply chain of PPE for skilled nursing facilities

On Monday, Newsom moved California into the early stages of Phase 2, allowing for nonessenti­al business to reopen for curbside retail. These 18 counties have been approved to go further, allowing in-person shopping and dining.

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