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Here's a list of California counties cleared to begin reopening sooner

More than 40 of California's 58 counties were on the list as of early Wednesday evening, but the list could very well expand soon.

SACRAMENTO, California — For weeks, rural California counties demanded to be allowed to reopen sooner despite the ever-present threat of the novel coronavirus across the state.

Counties like Yuba and Sutter took early steps into reopening, being the first in the state to have soft open for their local mall. At the time, the counties, which have a combined population of 171,000 people, had just 50 coronavirus cases and three deaths.

The day after the mall opened, Gov. Gavin Newsom called it a "big mistake." As of May 12, California has 69,382 confirmed COVID-19 cases, an 2,847 deaths.

Yuba and Sutter were among the first of a growing list of counties given the green light to begin advancing quickly through Newsom's Phase 2 of reopening. Forty-two of California's 58 counties were on the list as of Friday, May 22, but the list could very well expand soon.

The counties given the OK to begin reopening sooner are:

  • Alpine County
  • Amador County
  • Butte County
  • Calaveras County
  • Colusa County
  • Del Norte County
  • El Dorado County
  • Fresno County
  • Glenn County
  • Humboldt County
  • Inyo County
  • Kern County
  • Kings County
  • Lake County
  • Lassen County
  • Madera County
  • Mariposa County
  • Mendocino County
  • Merced County
  • Modoc County
  • Mono County
  • Napa County
  • Nevada County
  • Placer County
  • Plumas County
  • Riverside County
  • Sacramento County
  • San Benito County
  • San Diego County
  • San Joaquin County
  • San Luis Obispo County
  • Santa Barbara County
  • Shasta County
  • Sierra County
  • Siskiyou County
  • Solano County
  • Sonoma County
  • Stanislaus County
  • Sutter County
  • Tehama County
  • Trinity County
  • Tuolumne County
  • Ventura County
  • Yolo County
  • Yuba County

So what does it mean that counties can reopen sooner? Well, it's not as simple as just opening doors again the public.

In April, Newsom announced that the state will open in four different phases, the final of which would take months to reach.

The state passed through Phase 1 of reopening, which required getting more personal protective equipment and meeting the demand for possible hospital surging and testing capacity.

But for those counties who have, Phase 2 means finally getting to reopen some stores as long as certain criteria is met.

For those counties with the OK to go through Phase 2 more quickly, that means they can reopen the following businesses, sectors, and services with modifications: dine-in restaurants; limited services; outdoor museums; shopping centers and in-store retail; all office-based workplaces; all manufacturing industries supporting retail; all logistics industries supporting retail; and stage 1 sectors.

Still, for businesses beginning to reopen with modifications, the state has set guidance for dine-in restaurants and shopping centers to follow in order to keep patrons and workers safe.

Phases 3 and 4, which include hair salons, gyms, sporting events, concerts, and anywhere else that calls for larger crowds in tight spaces, could take months before they're reachable. 

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