SACRAMENTO (KABC) -- As the curve of novel coronavirus cases in California has effectively flattened, the conversation has shifted from how to contain the deadly virus to how we might reach a new normal of sorts.
Gov. Gavin Newsom has been easing restrictions at the state level very slowly. The next round of reopening is scheduled to start Friday, May 8, when retail businesses will be allowed to open for curbside pickup.
But California's cautious rollout of new rules has left a lot of people scratching their heads. Here's a breakdown of what we know - and what we don't know - about how the state is reopening.
The Four Stages
California plans to reopen its economy in four phases:
Stage 1: Everyone is either staying at home or a member of the essential workforce
Stage 2: Reopening lower risk workplaces, including:
- Non-essential manufacturing (toys, furniture, clothing, etc.)
- Childcare facilities
- Retail businesses for curbside pick-up
- Offices where working remotely isn't possible, but can be modified to make the environment safer for employees
Stage 3: Reopening higher risk workplaces, which require close proximity to other people, including:
- Hair salons
- Nail salons
- Movie theaters
- Sporting events without live audiences
- In-person religious services (churches and weddings)
Stage 4: Ending the stay-at-home order, which would allow for the reopening of:
- Concert venues
- Convention centers
- Sporting events with live audiences
What stage are we in now?
When the state allows some retail businesses to open Friday, we'll be slowly moving from Stage 1 to Stage 2. It's sort of like a Stage 1.5.
What businesses are allowed to operate and which aren't?
Starting May 8, bookstores, clothing stores, toy stores, florists and other similar retailers will be allowed to do curbside pickup only. That means no in-store browsing. Associated manufacturers that support those retail supply chains will also be allowed to resume production.
Those businesses will only be allowed to reopen if they follow additional safety and hygiene protocols that will be released Thursday.
There are other businesses in Stage 2 that are not allowed to reopen at this time, such as dine-in restaurants, office buildings and shopping malls.
When will we move into Stage 3?
Gov. Newsom has not yet offered a timeline of when he plans to relax more restrictions.
What do we NOT know?
There are several big questions on people's minds at the moment when it comes to reopening California:
What about childcare? Schools are closed and daycare facilities are still technically allowed for essential workers. As more people get called back to work, what are they supposed to do with their kids?
What will Southern California do? Gov. Newsom has made it clear that localities can decide to move faster or slower than the state's reopening timeline. Many Southern California counties are waiting to see what Newsom will say in his Thursday briefing before clarifying if they will allow retailers to reopen starting Friday.
Is it possible we move back a stage?
Yes. The state may decide to enact stricter shelter-in-place restrictions if coronavirus cases start to spike.