On April 22, California Governor Gavin Newsom held a press conference providing an update on the current roadmap to reopen California and announced that hospitals could begin to schedule surgeries again.
After reviewing each of the six indicators originally outlined on April 14 that guide the process of returning California to normalcy, Newsom announced that the available workforce and surge capacity in hospitals across the state have reached a point where surgeries can start to be scheduled once again. Newsom thoroughly emphasized, however, that this does not represent the start of a clear timeline for reopening the entire state, that steps will be taken or reversed as necessary to ensure public safety.
Newsom stressed, “We recognize anytime we begin to toggle back and start opening things back up, we have to look every day at the data, the dashboard of information coming back to make sure that we are adjusting to these new decisions and maintaining an understanding that we need to be vigilant about the intended consequences of these decisions and the unintended consequences of these decisions.”
Meanwhile, Ventura County has begun to take initial steps to ease certain restrictions across the county.
On April 20, Ventura County Public Health Officer Dr. Robert Levin announced a series of changes to update the currently active “Stay Well At Home” order. The changes then went into effect the same day. As part of these changes, the duration of the order has been extended through May 15, and certain types of businesses may resume operations. Going forward, businesses necessary to help maintain critical federal infrastructure as defined by California’s State Shelter Order will be allowed to resume operations at their facilities under certain restrictions. For businesses to qualify, they must not directly serve the general public must operate with limited staff and must maintain social distancing as much as possible as much as possible. Specifically, members of the public may not interact directly with employees or enter facilities, and only up to 10 employees can work at a given location within 24 hours.
Levin offered a measured optimism in announcing the changes, stating, “The data is looking good, thanks to the diligence of our community members in following these orders, but we must be cautious in how we move forward. We must continue to save lives and stop the spread of COVID-19.”
Additionally, people are now allowed to participate in a wider spread of outdoor activities, including tennis, golf and pickle-ball as long as social distancing requirements are maintained. As part of allowing these new activities, golf courses will be allowed to reopen under specific social distancing requirements, which include prohibit the use of motorized carts, limiting groups to four people at most with no substitutions.
Ventura County CEO Mike Powers credited Ventura County residents with making these changes possible.“We are positioned to focus on the road to reopening because our residents and businesses have sacrificed so much to comply with the Public Health Orders and slow the spread of the virus in our community,” Powers said. “These steps are critical because we know that, while the virus poses an unprecedented health threat, efforts to stem the virus come at a significant economic and health toll as we have seen with so many business closures and lost jobs.”
This move follows Ventura County’s April 17 decision to reopen all county parks, which similarly credited public cooperation with social distancing as a deciding factor. This decision reopens parks managed by Ventura County such as Santa Rosa Valley Park in Camarillo and Oak Park in Simi Valley.
The full revised order is available to view online and the latest official updates on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ventura County are available from VC Emergency.