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Coronavirus: Phase 2 businesses in San Bernardino County begin reopening Friday

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SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. –– The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors late Thursday announced some businesses can start to re-open today. These include what Gov. Gavin Newsom has termed Phase 2 businesses.

Phase 1 has been essential businesses, which were never required to be closed. The early phase of Phase 2 starting today are “lower risk” workplaces, including but not limited to bookstores, jewelry stores, clothing and shoe stores, home and furnishing stores, sporting goods stores, antique stores, music stores, and florists. To start, reopening efforts should be phased in, starting first with curbside pickup until further notice.

Supply chains supporting the above businesses can also open under this early stage of Phase 2, specifically in the manufacturing and logistics sectors.

All businesses will need to modify operations to reduce contact, ensure proper distancing, and ensure proper PPE and sanitation equipment for all employees, preferably with outdoor breakrooms and physically distant seating.

When businesses eventually open their doors to patrons, a workplace should restrict entry to 25 percent capacity and slowly advance from there as health indicators are evaluated.

“This is a key step in reopening our economy responsibly and safely,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman. “By beginning with mostly curbside operations for early Phase 2 businesses, we are giving business owners an opportunity to begin the process of ramping up their operations and ramping up our economy while ensuring the safety of their employees and patrons.”

As we proceed into the second stage of Phase 2, workplaces in additional sectors will open. Timing for this will be evaluated and announced as early as next week, and could include:

  • Destination retail, including shopping malls and swap meets
  • Offices, with physical distancing (although telework is still being encouraged)
  • Seated dining at restaurants, but with physical distancing
  • Personal services (not requiring close proximity with patrons), such as car washes and pet grooming.
  • Dine-in restaurants
  • Schools and childcare facilities
  • Outdoor museums and open gallery spaces

The ability to continue opening workplaces in Phase 2, and eventually higher risk Phase 3 businesses, will rely on several criteria. First, businesses must demonstrate their adherence to safety and social distancing guidelines. Second, county residents should also continue to practice accepted safety guidelines, such as the use of face coverings, six-foot distancing, and frequent hand washing.

Third, and most importantly, is the county must continue to demonstrate a flattening curve.

Combined COVID positive and suspected cases must continue to go down (COVID positive has been relatively flat for the past month). Hospitalizations and ICU utilization have been well below projections. The use of ventilators has remained stable, and our hospitals still have significant capacity to accommodate a surge.

“We are confident that our residents and business owners will recognize that keeping the rate of COVID-19 cases and related deaths flat is a shared responsibility,” said Hagman. “We have it within our collective ability to act responsibility, whether you are working in a store or looking to visit one. We are asking all our residents to please respect safe distances and wear face coverings when indoors around other people. If we can support one another during this reopening, we can thrive within this new normal.”

High-risk individuals, and anyone who is sick, should continue to follow strict safe-at-home guidelines until further notice.

More information on the County’s plan to reopen will be shared daily, beginning with the County’s weekly video briefing via Facebook Live today at 11 a.m.

(SB County Wire news release)

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