Reopening California, but doubt remain as new cases spike


The consequences of keeping the economy in lockdown in the US for any further is going to affect the country badly. Economic activity must resume, with or without coronavirus.

On one hand, California has been slowly loosening up the restrictions to let more industries get back to business, but these orders are given with a strict protocol to be followed.  They have to follow a new set of health and safety guidelines if they want to operate during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

On the other, the number of coronavirus cases in California is on the rise after weeks of optimism that infections had slowed, raising fears that plans to reopen counties, along with mass protests against police brutality, could accelerate the transmission of the virus.

But nevertheless, Gov. Gavin Newsom went ahead and announced the new guidelines for the reopening starting June 12. The businesses allowed to resume include bowling alleys, miniature golf, batting cages, arcades, and movie theaters.

To welcome back guests, cinemas must regulate attendance at 25% of normal capacity, or a maximum of 100 people, whichever is lower, according to the California Department of Public Health guidelines.

On Friday, the state announced gyms, bars and pro sports are also allowed to resume with modifications.

You can read the report released by the public health department here.

The report reveals clear points on how each industry should take precautionary actions with a heavy emphasis on social distancing. It also talks about a certain amount of training to taken up to inculcate periodical hygiene checks.

The coronavirus epidemic is a formidable foe, but it is not unbeatable. By scheduling our activities intelligently, in a way that accounts for the virus’s intrinsic dynamics, we can defeat it more rapidly, and accelerate a full return to work, school and other activities.

However, it is not going to be easy for Californians. With the rise in confirmed cases, the hope and optimism would definitely dampen people from coming out of their houses, or at least beginning engaging with businesses as before.

Just this week, daily cases of Covid-19 hit a new high across the state, topping 3,000 new daily confirmed cases for the second time in a week and contributing to the 115,000 cases and more than 4,300 deaths the state has reported since the pandemic began.

As a matter of fact, California has been held up as a model for its response to the coronavirus, locking down earlier, and being slower to lift shelter-in-place orders compared to other states.

Despite concerns over the spike in cases, efforts to monitor the outbreak could be blunted by the testing facilities that have closed or modified their hours amid widespread protests over the death of George Floyd, who was killed in the custody of police in Minneapolis.

California counties are in different phases of reopening economies, complicating a coordinated response to the new outbreaks.

For instance, as cases spike in Los Angeles, where a stay-at-home order remains in effect, some bars and dine-in restaurants have already reopened in San Diego, just two hours south.

That has public health officials worried about the second wave of cases before the first wave has completely passed, which could slow efforts to reopen California.

In addition, the civil unrest over George Floyd’s murder has definitely made the situation worse. Besides forgetting all the social distancing, David Eisenman, the director of the Center for Public Health and Disasters at UCLA, says “The use of teargas and pepper spray is going to fuel any spreading that was going to occur anyway,” he said. “It causes people to cough and sneeze – on each other, and on the police if they get rounded up and confined. Cops are putting people side by side, removing their masks, and cuffing them so they can’t cover their mouths”.

While that may be the case, there is no talk of continuing with the shutdown. For now, it looks everyone is ready to take the risk of opening their businesses. Following the prescribed guidelines by the California Department of Public Health could may not completely prevent the spread but it could definitely slow it down.