California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) launched a new plan to more slowly reopen his state’s economy after an alarming spike in coronavirus cases across the Golden State over the summer.
Under the new framework announced Friday, Newsom will allow each county to oversee their reopening based on a four-tier system based on the seriousness of the spread of COVID-19 in the areas. The tiers are based on the number of cases per 100,000 residents and percentage of coronavirus tests that come back positive.
The new platform requires at least 21 days to pass in the counties’ initial tier before proceeding to the next phase.
Additionally, the counties will be required to prove to Sacramento that they are “targeting resources” and making the “greatest efforts” to blunt the spread of the pandemic. The plan also leaves in place requirements that Californians wear masks when they’re with people outside their household and maintain social distancing with people who don’t live with them.
The new plan is an effort to implement statewide standards for combatting the coronavirus after Newsom caught flak for allowing localities to implement a hodgepodge of standards for curbing the spread of the disease. The governor appeared to recognize the criticism, saying the new outline was an effort to implement “a uniform state framework, with four categories instead of 58 different sets of rules.”
“This Blueprint is statewide, stringent and slow,” said Newsom. “We have made notable progress over recent weeks, but the disease is still too widespread across the state. COVID-19 will be with us for a long time and we all need to adapt. We need to live differently. And we need to minimize exposure for our health, for our families and for our communities.”
Among other things, the new plan would prohibit indoor business operations in counties that are in the bottom tier, though allows shopping centers and retail stores to open indoors in all counties with a 25-percent capacity cap.
The new framework comes as California looks to move past a sharp surge in coronavirus cases over the summer after the state initially appeared to have a hold on its outbreak earlier in the year.
There have been more than 698,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in California, the most of any state in the U.S., and 12,840 people have died there.