Gov. Gavin Newsom said California will move into phase 2 of his reopening plan as early as Friday, allowing lower-risk workplaces to resume operations with modifications to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Newsom also said the state will release guidelines on Thursday that will allow some some retail businesses to reopen with curbside pickup only - such as book stores, clothing stores, sporting-goods shops and florists.
The governor added that individual counties will retain the authority to keep stricter orders in place, possibly even delaying such businesses from reopening.
RELATED: Coronavirus: Governor Newsom announces phase 2 of reopening parts of California to start as early as Friday
"We recognize as we begin to modify, behaviors modify and possible community spread may occur," Newsom said.
Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health declined to say if the county - which has had nearly half of all COVID-19 deaths in the state, despite only having about one-quarter of the population - will fully go along with the state's loosening of restrictions. She said the county will allow businesses to reopen as quickly as possible wherever it can be safely done so.
Garcetti said he and county officials are discussing plans to relax some "safer-at-home" orders to allow certain businesses to reopen. But he said it will be some time before all businesses can resume and he did not provide a definite timeline on reopening.
"I want to be clear, this is going to be longer than just a couple weeks,'' Garcetti said during his daily coronavirus update. "There (won't be) a giant reopening. This is a series of steps that we have to assess each time, and they will succeed more if we practice the prescriptions that are given to us.''
Garcetti said if the city and county reopen businesses too soon or incorrectly, it could undo all the social distancing and isolating Angelenos have been observing for at least the last eight weeks. Businesses could be closed again after reopening if the coronavirus spreads and cases continue to increase.
He said he hopes he can announce this week what businesses could reopen, when and in what ways, but said he would only make that announcement if health professionals are comfortable with him doing so and if the county and neighboring cities agree. Safer at Home orders have been in place in Los Angeles since March 19 and are set to expire May 15.
The number of coronavirus cases in L.A. County stands at 26,238, with 1,260 deaths. Ferrer also reported 568 new cases of the coronavirus, noting that figures released on Mondays are generally lower due to more limited testing on weekends.
City News Service contributed to this report.