USA

California allows many more retail stores to reopen

California health officials said Monday that subject to approval by county public health departments, all retail stores can reopen for in-store shopping under previously issued guidelines.

The existing guidance for retailers, which previously applied just to those counties approved for wider reopening, now applies statewide. Retail can open for in-store shopping throughout California. Retail does not include personal services such as hair salons, nail salons and barbershops.

It marks the latest move to slowly reopen California’s economy amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Some officials had been pushing for the move, hoping to give small businesses the same playing field as big chains.

“Thank you, Governor Newsom. As we continue to battle this virus, this policy will make all the difference to the small businesses in our communities that are struggling to survive this crisis,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn in Twitter Monday.

It was unclear Monday whether L.A. County health officials would adjust their reopening guidelines in light of the state’s declaration.

California also released new coronavirus health guidance for religious services on Monday, saying houses of worship must limit total attendance to 25% of a building’s capacity and stop passing around offering plates, in addition to taking other precautions.

The 13-page document, released by the California Department of Public Health and Cal/OSHA, does not obligate churches, mosques, temples and other houses of worship to resume in-person activity, officials said.

In fact, state health authorities strongly recommend that places of worship “continue to facilitate remote services and other related activities for those who are vulnerable to COVID19 including older adults and those with co-morbidities.”

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