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Napa County gains California approval to reopen restaurant dining, shopping at certain malls, schools from coronavirus lockdown

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For more stories about the coronavirus, go here.

Track here how California counties are progressing toward criteria for reopening their economies.

Reopening of dine-in restaurants in Napa County gained approval from the state Tuesday with adaptations, the county announced.

In addition, the county stated the changes will permit retail stores, including shopping malls and swap meets to open as well as schools on June 1.

The relaxation of the shelter-in-place restrictions spawned in March in reaction to the COVID-19 virus came as the county submitted evidence to the state that was meeting the criterion outlined by Gov. Newsom. His plan calls for a four-phased reopening of the state’s businesses with a requirement that counties submit plans showing they are meeting requirements to reopen in each phase.

Neighboring Sonoma County has plans to also seek relaxation of the rules through the state’s program.

Under the phase 2 reopening approved Tuesday for Napa County, the state requires that businesses must follow minimum standards which included developing a protection plan, training employees on how to limit the spread of COVID-19 (that includes screening themselves for symptoms), engaging in screenings and disinfecting routines as well as maintain physical distancing guidelines.

The county will also require businesses post a state’s industry-specific checklist in the workplace to show customers and employees that the establishment has reduced the risk and is open for business and prepare and post signage of their social distancing protocol at entrance of each location.

The Napa Valley Register reported the variance doesn’t become official until the California Department of Public Health posts a county’s documents on its website. Napa County submitted its revised variance request at 8:11 p.m. Monday, and the state posted its approval around 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Still in place as well is the county’s shelter-in-place order which requires residents to shelter in their place of residence unless they are engaged in activities allowed by the Order. Most individuals are required to wear a face covering when inside places of business or workplaces, and interacting with any person where six feet of physical distancing cannot be maintained. And, according to the county, the new relaxation does not address wineries which have been forced to close tasting rooms and other public-facing activities.

The readiness criteria for phase 2 includes a low prevalence of COVID-19 cases, an expanded testing capacity and evidence that the county has the necessary infrastructure to detect and safely isolate new cases.

Napa County has had 92 cases of COVID-19, 45 of which are still active. Three people have died from the disease, and the most recent death occurred on May 10.

Sonoma County is revising its latest reopening plan to allow businesses including restaurants and wineries to open for outdoor seating, another step toward getting more people back to work and refueling the local economy hit by coronavirus pandemic closures.

In Sonoma County, Public Health Officer Sundari Mase said she believes the county is still on track to receive approval from state health officials to move forward with these new rules before the end of the week when she hopes to issue a new health order. She plans to submit the county’s final application Wednesday after incorporating state feedback and adding letters of support from some local hospitals and the Board of Supervisors.

The move comes on the heels of a series of loosened rules that have reopened Sonoma County parks and some businesses, steps broadly welcomed in the community.

Over the past week, the county has reported 78 new local cases of COVID-19, including 20 new cases in the past 24 hours.

All told, there are 411  local cases of the coronavirus since the first case was announced March 2. Of those, 203 are active cases and 204 people have recovered as of Tuesday night. Four people have died.

The Press Democrat contributed to this report.

For more stories about the coronavirus, go here.

Track here how California counties are progressing toward criteria for reopening their economies.

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