Restaurants with fewer tables. Waiters wearing masks and gloves, clutching to disposable menus. Temperature checks before you can enter the establishment. School classrooms reconfigured. More teleworking. More distance learning.
As California flattens the curve on coronavirus cases and begins to ponder easing stay-at-home orders, things might look different in the state, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said at a press conference Tuesday.
“Normal it will not be,” Gov. Newsom said. “At least until we have herd immunity, and we have a vaccine.”
The governor did not offer a precise timeline on the easing COVID-19 stay-at-home restrictions, but announced six key indicators that will guide the state’s decisions in the coming weeks and months.
Those indicators include the development of “adequate physical distancing protocols at businesses, schools and child care facilities,” the governor’s office said. Also, the state will ease restrictions based upon its ability to test and isolate symptomatic patients and identify those who have had contact with them; prevent the most vulnerable groups, like seniors, from being infected; ensure hospital and health systems can handle surges in cases; develop treatments that meet the demand with help from academia, researchers and others; and determine when and how to relax or tighten stay-at-home orders in the future if necessary.
“As we contemplate reopening parts of our state, we must be guided by science and data, and we must understand that things will look different than before,” the governor said.
Gov. Newsom called the next phase in the battle against the virus an optimistic one but likely the most challenging. In January, he said, the state launched containment efforts by repatriating flights from mainland China. It later moved to mitigation through stay-at-home orders, then prepped its medical system for a potential surge in cases. Now it’s moving to a “suppression” stage, with the ultimate goals of developing herd immunity and a vaccine.
Tuesday’s press conference occurred one day after Gov. Newsom announced a pact with Oregon and Washington on developing a shared framework on reopening their economies that aims to prioritize health, science and data, and not political pressure.
For more information on California’s response, visit covid19.ca.gov.