Some businesses and locations within Sacramento County will begin reopening this week, ahead of the State’s plan to lift its stay-at-home restrictions.

At his Monday press conference, California Governor Gavin Newsom said 24 counties filed for what he called “meaningful modification” to his mandate. Having met criteria for reopening faster, Sacramento officials said the County’s Public Health Order, which mandates sheltering-in-place and restricts non-essential activities, would be amended “on or before May 22.”

Public Health Officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye showed the County was ready, having met criteria that included having the number of COVID-19 cases decrease or stabilize, protection for essential workers, having the capacity to test residents and have adequate space for those who need to be hospitalized, and protections for vulnerable populations. The State recently dropped its requirement that counties have zero COVID-19 deaths for 14 days.

“The California Department of Public Health set out clear and specific criteria for this attestation, and Sacramento County has demonstrated that we have the ability to protect the public and essential workers and can move further into Stage 2,” said Dr. Peter Beilenson, Director of Health Services, who is working alongside Dr. Kasirye.

The lifting of restrictions is being done gradually in four stages. Sacramento County will advance further into Stage 2, which allows restaurants to resume dine-in services, small offices to bring employees back in, childcare centers, full public transportation service, and outdoor galleries and gyms. The County will still limit in-person church services and special ceremonies like graduations to drive-through only. Weddings and funerals will be allowed, but with a maximum of 10 people.

Salons, bars that do not offer dine-in meals, casinos, indoor museums, libraries, community centers, concert venues, festivals, theme parks, and hotels will remain closed to the public. The Sacramento Public Library has started a pilot program at two local branches for pick-up and drop-off only.
“We must get our economy roaring once again and put paychecks in people’s pockets, but the risk of COVID-19 infection is still real for all Californians and continues to be fatal,” reads the California Resilience Road map for state reopening.

In Sacramento County, 1,255 people have tested positive for COVID-19. There have been 108 African Americans who have tested positive and six have died.

Stage 3 of the plan will include higher-risk workplaces reopening and Stage 4 will mean the end of the stay-at-home order. Leaders are urging locals to continue using common sense.

“It remains critical that people continue to stay home as much as possible, practice social distancing, follow good hygiene and cleaning practices and stay home when they are sick,” Dr. Beilenson said.

“Inducing and supporting local economic activity and promoting public health are not mutually exclusive objectives,” stated Board Chairman and District 1 Supervisor Phil Serna. “Sacramento County’s attestation affirms the work we have done and will continue doing to protect residents’ health, and at the same time it underscores our intent to proceed with caution as we carefully consider social and economic reactivation.”

Other counties that have filed to reopen faster than the State include Placer, El Dorado and Yuba-Sutter counties. If counties continue to make progress, Gov. Newsom said, other things such as in-person retail, hair cuts and professional sports without spectators could also open up as soon as June.

For more information, call the Public Health Hotline at (916) 875-2400.

By Genoa Barrow | OBSERVER Senior Staff Writer