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California OKs reopening of retail stores across state

Retail does not include personal services such as hair salons, nail salons and barbershops.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — The California Department of Public Health Monday announced the statewide reopening of in-store retail shopping, a major step in California's emergence from shutdown orders issued in March to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The retail guidance for in-person shopping that is already in place for certain counties, including San Diego County, now applies statewide, officials said. Guidelines provided by the state are intended to help reduce the risk for workers and customers in retail stores.

"Modifications are required to keep Californians safe and limit the spread of COVID-19," according to the state health department.

Key prevention practices listed by the state include:

  • Physical distancing to the maximum extent possible
  • Use of face coverings by employees (where respiratory protection is not required) and customers/clients
  • Frequent handwashing and regular cleaning and disinfection
  • Training employees on these and other elements of the COVID-19 prevention plan

Retail does not include personal services such as hair salons, nail salons and barbershops.

Reopening is subject to approval by county public health departments. Last week, retail shopping resumed in San Diego County following approval of a plan submitted to the state requesting the county be allowed to move forward with an accelerated Stage 2 reopening. 

At Thrifty Threads in Encinitas, owner Wilma Romero said Monday she was happy and exhausted since reopening. 

"Business, because of the holiday, has been very brisk. I’m very happy with it," she said. "We’ve been working very hard for a few weeks so that we could be set up on opening day." 

Romero provided hand sanitizer and handed out masks and gloves to customers while also implementing strict social distancing measures and allowing only a handful of people in the store at a time. 

Per San Diego County's guidance, customers are allowed in stores, including malls, with the following requirements:

  • Post signs saying no employees or customers with COVID-19 symptoms should enter
  • Temperature/symptom screening for employees daily
  • Employees and customers must wear facial coverings
  • Limit number of customers to maintain six feet of distance

Businesses that have not done so previously and intend to reopen need to complete a Safe Reopening Plan, post it at their entrance and discuss with their employees. Retail businesses that were providing curbside or front-door pick-up and will now be allowing customers indoors must update their plan.

Monday's announcement came as Gov. Gavin Newsom released guidelines for resuming in-person services at churches and other houses of worship.

"Together, our actions have helped bend the curve and reduce infections in our state. As sectors continue to open with changes that aim to lower risk, remember that COVID-19 is still present in our communities," said Dr. Sonia Angell, the state's public health officer and director of the health department. "As more of us may be leaving our homes, keeping physical distance, wearing face coverings in public, and washing your hands frequently are more important than ever to help protect yourself and those around you."

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