California Governor Announces New Reopening Plan | San Diego County Cleared To Open Indoor Operations At Many Businesses, Including Restaurants & Gyms

August 28, 2020

At his press conference today, California Governor Gavin Newsom gave guidance on how counties can begin reopening businesses, changing his framework from the monitoring list previously used to a 4-tier analysis. San Diego County can begin to allow for the reopening of indoor operations among several business sectors, including restaurants, starting next week.

Governor Newsom has been asked by many municipalities and local government officials to formally address how a county would be cleared to reopen indoor operations at businesses, including written requests by San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer sent earlier this week. Newsom finally addressed this issue at his press conference today and announced a new framework, dubbed "A Blueprint for a Safer Economy," for analyzing a county's COVID-19 risk level.

"This Blueprint is statewide, stringent and slow," said Governor Newsom. "We have made notable progress over recent weeks, but the disease is still too widespread across the state. COVID-19 will be with us for a long time and we all need to adapt. We need to live differently. And we need to minimize exposure for our health, for our families and for our communities."

Newsom introduced a uniform framework process consisting of 4 tiers for reopening the economy. The metrics to determine movement within the tiers will be case rates and test positivity percentage per county. The 4 color-coded tiers are as follows: purple is when county risk level is widespread and most non-essential indoor business operations will be forced to remain closed (more than 7 per 100,000 and more than 8% positive tests); red is when county risk level is substantial and some non-essential indoor business operations will stay closed (between 4-7 new cases per 100k population and between 5-8% positive cases); orange is when risk level is moderate and some business operations are open with modifications (between 1-3.9 new cases per 100k population and between 2-4.9% positive cases); yellow is when a county risk level is minimal and most business operations are open with modifications.

Being San Diego County is in the "substantial risk" red tier, starting on Monday, August 31, certain businesses can begin gradually reopening indoor activities with limited capacity (usually 25%), including museums, zoos, aquariums, hair salons & barber shops with modifications, restaurants (25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer), gyms and fitness centers (10% capacity), yoga studios (10% capacity), movie theaters (25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer), places of worship (25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer), indoor shopping malls (max 50% capacity with closed common areas and reduced capacity food courts), retailers (max 50% capacity), tattoo parlors with modifications, and more. Bars, breweries, brewpubs, and distilleries where no food is served must remain closed, and wineries where no meals are served must continue to operate outdoors only. Increased positive coronavirus numbers over the next few days could change when San Diego businesses may reopen.

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors further explained how the governor's announcement will impact area businesses at their press conference this afternoon. County officials confirmed business openings as outlined above will be permitted to begin starting on August 31. San Diego businesses will have to update their Safe Reopening Plans to reflect how businesses will adhere to the new requirements. San Diego schools will be permitted to reopen for in-class instruction next week, although individual districts may impose stricter guidelines for returning than the state or county.

California counties will be required to maintain the required data limits for two weeks between advancing to a more favorable tier and there will be a mandatory 21-day wait time for counties moving into another level. There will also be only one tier movement at any given time, and every Tuesday the county monitoring list will be assessed and updated. There are 38 California counties currently in the purple tier, 9 in red, 8 in orange and 3 in yellow. San Diego is currently in the red risk level, while all counties surrounding San Diego are in the highest purple risk category.

Businesses that can reopen indoor operations on August 31
Effective starting July 13, all California counties were forced to close indoor operations at dine-in restaurants, wineries and tasting rooms, movie theaters, family entertainment centers (for example: bowling alleys, miniature golf, batting cages and arcades), zoos and museums, and cardrooms. Counties that remained on the state monitoring list for 3 consecutive days were further required to shut down indoor operations at gyms and fitness centers, places of worship and cultural ceremonies, offices for non-critical infrastructure sectors, personal care services like nail salons and body waxing, hair salons and barbershops, and indoor shopping malls. As of August 18, San Diego County was removed from California's county monitoring list.

For more information and to search a list of what is permitted to open in individual California counties, visit California's recently-revamped

This is a developing story and we will update this post as we learn more.