Reopening Businesses … Cautiously


Some businesses in the State of California and Los Angeles County are starting to reopen tomorrow, May 8. Complete reopening will be done in phases and if anyone thinks this is going to be an easy switch on they are mistaken.

During her daily briefing with the County director of Public Health, Supervisor Kathryn Barger on Wednesday said that although Gov. Gavin Newsom stated some businesses will be reopening on Friday, that does not mean all cities and counties will be reopening at the same rate or in the same way. This is especially true in LA County, which has the largest population of any county in the country.

“Our guidelines will look different from others,” Barger said.

The COVID-19 response to reopening businesses has been set in five stages. Stage 1, which the County is in now, is the “Safer-At-Home” guidelines that include limited essential businesses being open.

Stage 2 will begin on May 8 and includes the opening of curbside service for businesses like florists, some retailers and car dealerships. Golf courses and trails will also be opened. Soon (a date has yet to be scheduled) the County will open for more low-risk businesses, like manufacturers, offices and more retail along with outdoor recreation, libraries, museums, cultural centers and galleries. In this Stage 2 plan everyone is required to continue to practice social distancing.

Stage 3 (the date for this opening is yet to be determined) includes the opening of higher-risk businesses like body art, massage and bars and nightclubs. This stage also includes the opening of movie theaters and bowling alleys, kindergarten through grade 12 schools, colleges and universities.

Stage 4 is the reopening of the highest risk businesses including entertainment venues, large conventions, sporting and spectator events.

Stage 5 is fully back to normal operations.

Before businesses open on Friday hospitals need to enact several safeguards including making certain there is adequate healthcare staffing, testing, ventilators and Personal Protective Equipment in preparation of a possible surge. It is important that safety measures are in place to protect the most vulnerable and to make certain there is enough testing capacity for priority groups. There must be protocols in place to keep workers and customers safe.

Just because businesses are coming back it does not mean that COVID-19 is gone; there will still be protocols in place including social distancing and face coverings. There will also be a continuation of gathering data to analyze the virus spread. 

Additional information on protocols for reopening is to be announced today, Thursday, May 7.