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Every California voter will receive a vote-by-mail ballot this fall

In other news, Friday, May 8, marked the beginning of "phase two" of reopening California's economy.
Credit: AP
This July 23, 2019 photo shows California Gov. Gavin Newsom during a news conference in Sacramento, Calif. Newsom signed a law Tuesday, July 30, requiring presidential candidates to release their tax returns to appear on the state's primary ballot, a move aimed squarely at Republican President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — At noon on Friday, Governor Gavin Newsom met with a California small business owner to explore how small businesses are adapting to phase two of modifying the statewide stay-at-home order. Phase two kicked off on Friday, May 8, and means some industries, like manufacturing, can reopen with safety modifications in place. 

California is expanding PPE (personal protective equipment) for people both within and outside of the healthcare industry. Newsom said the state is delivering two million masks for farm works and 500,000 masks to small grocers. 

California reported 81 new deaths on Friday and nearly 2,000 additional people have tested positive for COVID-19. 

"[These are] not just numbers, not statistics - [they're]  human beings,” said Newsom.

Newsom said ICU visits are down 0.6%.

In order to assure people can vote safely in November without entering a crowded polling place, Newsom signed an executive order saying that every registered voter in state of California will receive a vote-by-mail ballot. 

“I think that’s huge," said Alex Padilla, California’s Secretary of State. “There’s no safer, physically-distanced, healthier way to exercise your right to vote.”

Padilla said the return postage is prepaid. 

“It’s great for public health,” said Padilla. “It’s great for voting rights.” 

Dr. Mark Ghaly, Secretary of the California Health and Human Services, said on Thursday that California can now move into phase two since hospital data has shown a range of stability.

Ghaly said stage two doesn’t mean COVID-19 is any less dangerous. 

“COVID-19 is still spreading,” said Ghaly on Thursday.

Newsom also noted that 92 virus deaths were reported in California between Wednesday and Thursday, so people should still be careful.

"I'll remind people that think, `Hey, the emergency's over, we can go back to the way things used to be' -- I've heard some comments from people that are even in elected office saying that -- tell that to 92 families that were destroyed because they lost a loved one to this virus in the last 24 hours," Newsom said. "This by no stretch of the imagination is over. We want to contain this spread. We are making real progress in this state because you all practiced physical distancing, you abided broadly by the stay at home order, but we are not out of the woods."

Businesses that fall under the “stage two” category will have to make some safety changes in order to reopen. These include hands-free devices for payment, curbside pickup while employees wear gloves and a mask, closing smaller indoor break rooms and using outdoor break rooms with physically-distanced seating instead, and warehouses having PPE (personal protective equipment) and sanitation materials for their employees.

Ghaly and Newsom said each industry and business should make a detailed risk assessment plan, train employees, and have a sanitized site-specific protection plan. 

The state has available checklists that are encouraged for businesses, but not mandatory, to post to show customers what is being done and make them feel safe. 

Bookstores, for example, are allowed to reopen under health guidelines:

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