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Governor Gavin Newsom announces new strategies to address COVID-19

Posted at 6:52 AM, Aug 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-28 20:20:50-04

It's been over a month since Governor Gavin Newsom announced statewide closures of certain sectors as COVID-19 cases continued to spread rapidly. On Friday, Newsom announced new guidelines so that the state's economy can reopen safely. 23ABC's Austin Westfall explains the governor's new plan.

Many business owners were hoping Governor Newsom's briefing on Friday would bring good news. Some businesses are going to be opening as early as next Monday. But for many sectors, that wasn't the case.

The California COVID Watchlist is no more. Newsom said in the briefing Friday that the state has a new, simple, framework for reopening the economy. There are now four tiers with Tier 4 in yellow being the best and Tier 1 in purple - where Kern County is - the worst. This means the county is in the "widespread" category.

Still, the new guidelines mean some industries can reopen indoor operations with modifications.

"Hair salons and barbershops in the purple - widespread - will be allowed to operate as soon as Monday," explained Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of the California Health and Human Services.

The state said retail and shopping centers will also be allowed to open at 25 percent capacity with closed common areas and food courts.

Kern County Chief Administrative Officer Ryan Alsop tweeted that restaurants must continue to limit operations to outdoor dining, take home and delivery only. Gyms and fitness centers are to remain closed for all indoor operations.

Being in Tier 1 means the Kern county has had more than seven daily new cases per 100,000 people, as well as more than eight percent of tests coming back positive for the virus. Getting out of Tier 1 is a slow process, according to Newsom.

Each county will be assessed by the state every Tuesday, starting on September 8th. In order for a county to be moved forward a tier, they must meet the tier's criteria for two weeks.

"In order to move out of those tiers, there is now a 21-day mandatory wait time," said Newsom. "We have criteria that toggles forward, but also toggles back. If you fail to meet the criteria for at least two weeks then you'll have to move back into the old tier."

Counties can only move one tier at a time, according to Newsom.

The state has created a searchable database so that residents in each county can figure out which businesses are and are not open.

Following the press briefing, Kern County Chief Administrative Officer announced in a series of tweets what businesses could reopen, which ones could operate at limited capacity, and which ones had to remain closed.