California to Reopen In-Store Shopping and Places of Worship, Pending County Approval

Churches and other religious buildings must keep capacity at 25%, while stores must have clearance from county officials

Last Updated: May 25, 2020 @ 5:20 PM

California state authorities announced on Monday new guidelines that would allow stores to reopen their doors to in-store shopping and would allow places of worship to resume services with 25% capacity.

According to the state’s website, 46 of 58 counties have confirmed that their rate of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations has decreased to the point that in-store shopping and dine-in service at restaurants can resume. Among the dozen that still are not ready is Los Angeles County, which has reported roughly half of the state’s total infections and over 60% of the state’s deaths.

However, L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn said in a tweet following the state’s announcement that the county will likely modify its health order in the coming days to allow for all retailers to reopen “under the same rules Target and Walmart have been able to operate under throughout this crisis.” Currently, stores are only allowed to take orders for curbside pickup.

Statewide, stores that do reopen must adhere to social distancing guidelines, including masks for employees and maximum capacity reduced to 50%. Places of worship, meanwhile, must keep their attendance to below 25% of maximum capacity or below 100 individuals, whichever is fewer. Guidelines recommend that churches and other religious institutions check the temperatures of attendees prior to entering.

“Together, our actions have helped bend the curve and reduce infections in our state. As sectors continue to open with changes that aim to lower risk, remember that COVID-19 is still present in our communities,” said Dr. Sonia Angell, state public health officer and director of the California Department of Public Health, in a statement. “As more of us may be leaving our homes, keeping physical distance, wearing face coverings in public, and washing your hands frequently are more important than ever to help protect yourself and those around you.”

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