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California relaxes some criteria for reopening, allowing most of the state to reopen quicker

The criteria announced Monday by Gov. Gavin Newsom applies to counties that want to reopen faster than the state.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California is relaxing some of its reopening criteria and that could mean most of the state may soon be offering services such as dining at restaurants and haircuts.

The criteria announced Monday by Gov. Gavin Newsom applies to counties that want to reopen faster than the state. So far, 24 mainly rural counties already have won approval under the old standards. But under the new guidelines, roughly 53 would be eligible to apply for a regional variance, Newsom said.

The changes eliminate requirements that a county have zero deaths and no more than one case per 10,000 residents over 14 days. Now counties do not have to meet a threshold for deaths.

Eligible counties can now apply for a regional variance if they have no more than 25 cases per 100,000 residents, or if they have less than 8% test positivity rate, or if they have no greater than a 5% increase in hospitalizations in the last seven days.

Some of what prompted the modifications, according to Newsom, is positivity trends in the state’s coronavirus data points. According to the governor, California has seen a 7.5% decline in hospitalizations over the last 14 days statewide and an 8.7% decline in ICU patients over that same period.

Newsom also teased that things like hair salons, in-person church service, and sporting events, albeit without fans, could be "within a window of a few weeks of meaningful modifications."

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