Newsom signals a reopening of retail stores on Friday

Following a week of defiance from local governments chafing under the state’s shelter-in-place order, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Monday that the state will begin moving into the second stage of his four-phase plan to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Beginning Friday, low-risk retail stores will be able to reopen for curbside pick-up only. This category of stores include bookstores, clothing stores, toy stores, florists and sporting goods stores – among others.

“This is a very positive sign, and it’s happened for only one reason: The data says it can happen,” Newsom said. “But we recognize as we begin to modify, behaviors modify and possible community spread may occur.

“If that’s the case, and we do not have the capacity to control that spread, to trace that spread, to track that spread, to isolate individuals who may have been in contact with COVID-19 – we will have to make modifications anew. This is a sober announcement.”

Offices, restaurants for in-person dining and shopping malls will not reopen at this time. Newsom said those will reopen as Phase 2 progresses.

Individual counties will also be allowed to move through Phase 2 at a faster pace than what the state sets if they gain approval from the California Department of Public Health.

County health officials along with the board of supervisors will be able to create and submit a readiness plan to the CDPH.

The CDPH will review and certify the plans if they meet criteria that includes the capacity on testing, contact tracing, physical distancing, sanitation and a plan to protect the most vulnerable residents in the community.

If the state approves the plan, counties will be able to move forward with reopening restaurants and hospitality businesses to in-person traffic in a limited capacity.

The state will require active monitoring for any businesses reopening through Phase 2.

Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at