California lifts statewide Covid stay-at-home order, permitting eating places to reopen

A person wearing a protective mask arranges a table outside a restaurant in San Francisco, California, July 14, 2020.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

California will cancel its home stay order across the state on Monday, paving the way for restaurants and personal care services to reopen with operations changed, according to a statement from the California Department of Health.

The stay-at-home order, first announced by Governor Gavin Newsom on December 3, divided the state into five regions and was based on one area’s ICU capacity. Three of those regions – the San Joaquin Valley, Bay Area, and Southern California – were still in the works before they were lifted on Monday.

As part of the order, restaurants were only allowed to offer take-out and delivery services, and personal care businesses such as hair salons and barbershops were forced to close. Retailers were allowed to stay open with limited capacity. The state is expected to revert to its tiered county-to-county reopening system that will allow businesses to reopen based on the level of Covid-19 prevalent in their area.

Virtually every county will start at the most widespread, restrictive reopening stage, meaning many businesses, including restaurants and gyms, will only be allowed to reopen for outdoor services, according to the state’s Department of Health. Retailers can reopen their stores at a quarter of their capacity below the most widely used level.

State health officials are now predicting that ICU capacity, the percentage of beds used, will drop below 85% in each region in four weeks after running at or near maximum capacity for weeks. This will allow Newsom to hold the home stay order across California. The Sacramento region left the Order as early as Jan. 12, and the Northern California region never joined the order, the state health department said.

“California is slowly beginning to emerge from the most dangerous wave of this pandemic yet. This is the light at the end of the tunnel that we have hoped for,” said California Health and Welfare Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly in a statement.

“Seven weeks ago our hospitals and health professionals had reached their limits, but the Californians heard the urgent message to stay home if possible, and our post-December vacation recovery did not overwhelm the health system as much as we feared,” Said Ghaly.

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