California is set to move into Stage 3 of Governor Gavin Newsom‘s four-stage recovery plan to reopen the state amid the COVID-19 pandemic, he announced Monday.
Counties around the state will initially be given the opportunity to apply for approval to transition into the new stage and then Newsom will eventually issue a statewide order. In his announcement, he said the next phase is “weeks, not months away.”
Newsom also said he is loosening the restrictions needed for counties to move from Stage 1 to 2. Previously, each county had to meet a number of criteria to move forward in reopening, including stabilization of hospitalizations of infected individuals on a seven-day average of daily percent change of less than 5%, or no more than 20 COVID hospitalizations on any single day in the past 14 days, and less than 25 new cases per 100,000 residents in the past 14 days or less than 8% testing positive in the past seven days.
Under Stage 3, Newsom said some sports leagues may be able to return to action with “modifications and very prescriptive conditions,” including without spectators in attendance.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom says the state could see pro sports return by the first week of June without fans. pic.twitter.com/j4PPg56Yn7
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) May 18, 2020
Currently, more than 20 counties have moved deep into Stage 2 while many – including Los Angeles, San Diego, and those that comprise the Bay Area – remain early in the stage or in late Stage 1. Newsom said Monday that locales like Los Angeles and the Bay Area are allowed to maintain stricter rules, but he has already lifted restrictions on curbside retail pickup and manufacturing jobs, among other sectors. Stage 2 also includes fewer restrictions on outdoor activities, namely golf and tennis so far, but not pool swimming.
A handful of states around the U.S. have begun reopening pools at a limited capacity or plan to do so in the near future. In California, some club teams – including Mark Schubert‘s Mission Viejo – have been able to appeal to local government and get approved to return to practicing under heavy restrictions.
Stage 4 of the plan will allow for large gatherings, like concerts and sports events with fans in attendance, to resume – but Newsom has indicated that the state won’t get to that phase until a vaccine is available.