(CALMATTERS) – Mark your calendars for Friday — the day that California will begin partially reopening after seven weeks of sheltering in place.

CASTRO VALLEY, CA – MARCH 26: A hopeful message is seen on the marquee of the The Chabot theatre on Castro Valley Boulevard day nine of the coronavirus stay-at-home order in Castro Valley, Calif., on Thursday, March 26, 2020. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group)

By the end of the week, clothing stores, bookstores, florists, sporting goods stores and other retailers — as well as the manufacturing and logistics companies that support them — can offer curbside pickup as long as physical distancing is practiced and workers are protected, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday.

“The data says it can happen,” Newsom said, pointing out stabilizing COVID-19 hospitalization rates, improving testing capacity and a sufficient inventory of personal protective equipment

Music to rural counties’ ears was the governor’s announcement that individual counties can move at a faster rate than the state and reopen restaurants and offices, as long as local public health officials sign off on mandatory safety plans.

But Newsom cautioned the state will step in if a wave of coronavirus cases crops up in those communities.

  • Newsom: “To the extent that we start to see community spread, that we start to see that the certification and the commitments they made at the local level aren’t manifesting and they weren’t able to hold up … then the state can once again intervene.”

Central to the state’s reopening strategy: deploying an “army” of 20,000 state employees to trace and track the spread of the virus. As CalMatters’ Rachel Becker reports, Newsom announced Monday a partnership with UCSF and UCLA to train 3,000 new tracers a week, beginning Wednesday. California will also develop a new statewide database to help local health departments trace infected people and their contacts as they travel through the state. 

  • Sara Bosse, Madera County public health director: “I’m very excited about that innovation. It is something that we have needed for a decade in California.”

By Emily Hoevan | CALmatters