OC approves guidelines to apply when state lets businesses reopen

Looking ahead to when more businesses might be allowed to reopen, Orange County has approved a set of guidelines setting out requirements for physical distancing and cleaning to help protect employees and customers.
Looking ahead to when more businesses might be allowed to reopen, Orange County has approved a set of guidelines setting out requirements for physical distancing and cleaning to help protect employees and customers.

Business owners and residents pleaded with the Board of Supervisors to reopen the county. But supervisors said they are following the state's lead to determine when businesses will be allowed to reopen.

But in preparation for that moment, the board approved six guidelines for best practices that businesses and people in general should use when the county reopens.

All ideas came from an ad hoc committee full of some of OC's biggest players from a number of industries.

"The overriding concern and the overriding motivation for the desire to get back to work is recognized in these as subservient to making sure we remain safe," said supervisor Don Wagner.

The guidelines will apply to businesses, houses of worship, entertainment and sports venues, education providers and other organizations.

When the state gives the green light to transition to some type of normalcy, anyone who is considered high risk should continue to stay home.

Anyone who feels sick should also stay home.

At businesses, physical distancing should be maintained with customers along with face coverings, hand-washing protocols and even taking temperatures before starting a shift. Customers are also to wear face coverings and gloves.

People accessing county parks, beaches and trails will also need to continue physical distancing and wear face coverings.

All of this comes with a warning from the OC Health Care Agency:

"The whole point of this, is if we start to relax orders, or start to let people congregate again or create opportunities for contact, then we just want to be prepared, said Lilly Simmering, interim director of the OC Health Care Agency.

The county says it is preparing for a 70% surge in cases as restrictions are lifted.

"I think critical for us is the capacity of our communicable disease control to respond to increasing cases that we will likely see as we lessen some of the stay at home orders," said Dr. Nichole Quick, the county's health care officer.

Writing the guidelines falls under the first stage of Gov. Gavin Newsom's multi-stage plan for reopening the state.

The guidelines approved by the county board will be sent to Sacramento for approval before the county can move to the next stage, which is reopening some businesses which are considered at lower risk for spreading the virus.

In the meantime, most of the county's beaches remain open to the public. Images of crowds on beaches provoked a public rebuke from Newsom, who said everyone needs to maintain physical distancing requirements.
Copyright © 2020 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.