SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – Governor Gavin Newsom on Tuesday announced California’s tentative plan for easing its stay-at-home orders and reopening the state during the coronavirus pandemic.

“This can’t be a permanent state. And I want you to know, it’s not,” Newsom said. “We recognize the consequences of these stay-at-home orders have a profound impact on the economy.”

Newsom did not give a specific date of when the state will reopen, but said that if the hospitalization and ICU numbers decline over the next two weeks, more personal protective equipment is available, and contact tracing infrastructure is ready, then a timeline for when California could reopen would be provided in the first week of May.

In order to do that, Newsom said Californians must continue adhering to social distancing guidelines to flatten the curve.

“Let’s not make the mistake pulling the plug too early, as much as we want to,” he said.

Here are the 6 things California must do for stay-at-home restrictions to be loosened and for the economy to reopen:

  1. The ability to monitor and protect our communities through testing, contact tracing, isolating, and supporting those who are positive or exposed; 
  2. The ability to prevent infection in people who are at risk for more severe COVID-19; 
  3. The ability of the hospital and health systems to handle surges; 
  4. The ability to develop therapeutics to meet the demand; 
  5. The ability for businesses, schools, and child care facilities to support physical distancing; and 
  6. The ability to determine when to reinstitute certain measures, such as the stay-at-home orders, if necessary.

Once the aforementioned needs are met, don’t expect life to go back to “normal,” or what life was like pre-coronavirus times.

Officials said more than likely even when stay-at-home orders are lifted, things will look a lot different.

“This is not about going back to where we were before. It’s about going forward in ways that are healthy for all of us. But it won’t look the same,” said Dr. Sonia Angell, director of the California Department of Public Health.

For example, restaurants will likely reopen with fewer tables as to allow for greater social distancing. Your server may be wearing a face mask and gloves, and the menu may be disposable. Newsom said it’s possible that your temperature may even be checked before you head into the restaurant.

Face coverings in general will be more common in public, with some counties such as Sonoma, Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino already enforcing face coverings in public.

Newsom said there will also likely be new opportunities to support mitigation of the virus, including efforts to improve contact tracing.

“As we contemplate reopening parts of our state, we must be guided by science and data, and we must understand that things will look different than before,” Newsom said.

The governor also painted a different picture for schools this fall.

Things you can expect – staggering school start times, class sizes cut in half, and social distancing in the hallways and cafeteria.

He added that there will also be a need for massive sanitization and deep cleaning in schools.

Governor Newsom described four phases of strategies for dealing with the coronavirus, saying California is currently in its third phase.

  • Phase 1: Containment
  • Phase 2: Mitigation
  • Phase 3: Surging
  • Phase 4: Suppression

Officials said the current stay-at-home orders can not be sustained due to the impact it is having on the economy and acknowledged the impact the orders have had on individuals, families and businesses.

California has been under a statewide stay-at-home order since March 19. Since then, more than 2 million Californians have filed for unemployment benefits.

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