As Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled a new plan to reopen California’s economy on Friday, some businesses in San Joaquin County have been given the OK to operate indoors once again.
In Newsom’s new plan, all 58 counties in California have been placed in different colored tiers that will determine what types of businesses can completely reopen with little or no restrictions.
Purple would be the most severe tier, and the colors red, orange and yellow would represent the second, third and fourth tiers, the last of which would be safest, with minimal transmission of COVID-19.
San Joaquin County, along with the majority of counties across the state, has been placed in the purple tier, in which most non-essential businesses must remain closed.
Counties in this tier have more than seven COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people per day and a coronavirus test positivity rate of between more than 8%. San Joaquin County currently has 16.9 cases per 100,000 residents, and a positive rate of more than 8%.
The earliest the county could move into the next tier would be Sept. 22, officials said. Counties in that tier have between four to seven COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people per day, and a test positivity rate of between 5%-8%.
On Monday, county health officials issued a new stay-at-home order that allows hair salons and barbershops to operate indoors, while all retail stores and shopping centers must operate at 25% capacity, and grocery stores must operate at 50% capacity.
Professional sports can be played again, although without live audiences.
Schools in the county must remain closed for in-person instruction until the new case level is at or below seven cases per 100,000 per day for 14 consecutive days.
Grades K-6 may apply for a waiver when the county’s new case level decreases to 14 cases per 100,000 per day.
“I’m excited for all our barbers and hair stylists,” Lodi Chamber of Commerce CEO and president Pat Patrick said.
“It’s long overdue in our opinion at the Chamber, and we’re thrilled they can get back to work,” he said. “I think the vast majority of these stylists and barbers are small business people who work hard for their money and have always done a great job at keeping their customers safe.”
Other businesses, such as restaurants, wineries, houses of worship, gyms and fitness centers, wineries and cardrooms must still operate outdoors. Family entertainment centers, theaters, museums and zoos and personal care services such as nail salons and estheticians must also still operate outdoors.
Bars, pubs, brewpubs and breweries can operate outdoors, but only if they offer sit-down meals.
Patrick said he didn’t understand why some businesses, such as bars and churches, were still required to remain outdoors.
“I think this doesn’t make some (bars) happy,” he said. “I think they should social distance indoors, and I don’t think it would be any different from operating outdoors. As for the churches, I think many of them don’t see how they can allow casinos to operate inside, but not a church. In church you can at least skip a few seats and maintain social distancing. At a casino, you see all kinds of people shoulder to shoulder at the card tables.”
If the county moved into Tier 2, restaurants would be able to serve customers indoors, but only at 25% capacity. In Tier 3, restaurants could serve indoors at 50% capacity, and then 100% capacity in Tier 4, as long as social distancing and other safeguards are in place. A county can move backward by failing to meet tier criteria for two consecutive weeks, or if state officials see a rapid rise in hospitalizations, public health officials said.
To learn more about the state’s tier system, visit www.sjcphs.org and click on the Blueprint for A Safer Economy press release link.