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San Francisco will allow certain businesses to reopen beginning May 18

San Francisco will ease stay-at-home order.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

San Francisco officials announced Thursday that certain retailers such as bookstores, florists and music stores will be the first stores allowed with operate storefront pickup beginning May 18.

The move marks a moderate step in easing stay-at-home restrictions. San Francisco has been more conservative than other California counties, which plan to reopen some businesses Friday based on new rules from Gov. Gavin Newsom.

“We have been hard at work to find ways to reopen more businesses and activities safely and responsibly,” said Mayor London Breed in a statement. “Giving businesses the option to reopen and provide storefront pickup will provide some relief for everyone in our city — allowing some people to get back to work, while still protecting public health. The last thing we want is to see a spike in the number of cases or hospitalizations, so we’re going to be keeping close track of our key COVID-19 indicators and will be ready to make any adjustment needed to keep our community healthy.”

The following businesses can do pick up service beginning May 18:

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  • Bookstores
  • Florists
  • Music and record stores
  • Hobby, toy and game stores
  • Home furnishings and home goods
  • Cosmetics and beauty supply
  • Arts supplies stores
  • Musical instrument and supplies stores
  • Sewing, needlework and piece goods stores

Newsom announced new coronavirus safeguards and protocols for retail stores and workplaces eligible to reopen Friday and in the weeks ahead, marking the beginning of California’s gradual easing of the stay-at-home order and attempt to rekindle a state economy ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the plan, in-restaurant dining, car washes and some office buildings could also be allowed to reopen in the weeks ahead if public health officials in a county are able to demonstrate that the spread of the coronavirus has stabilized there. County officials must prove to the state that they have adequate testing and hospital capacity and the ability to isolate people with the virus, and trace who they have contacted.

Newsom said earlier this week that bookstores, music stores, toy stores, florists, sporting goods retailers, clothing stores and others can reopen for curbside pickup as early as Friday, unless barred by tougher local restrictions. Manufacturers and suppliers that provide goods for those businesses also will be allowed to resume operating.

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The state is recommending that retailers continue to encourage physical distancing and implement “hands-free” ways for customers to pay. Manufacturers should close indoor break areas, and warehouses should carry sanitation materials during deliveries and provide employees with personal protective gear, said Dr. Mark Ghaly, the state’s secretary of Health and Human Services.

In Los Angeles County, car dealers and other types of brick-and-mortar stores — including florists and those that sell toys, music, books, clothing and sporting goods — will be allowed to open for curbside pickup only starting Friday. In-store shopping will not be permitted.

“I’m cautiously optimistic, but we can’t move too quickly,” county Supervisor Hilda Solis said Thursday. “Simply put, the virus does not get any less dangerous during this time we’re staying at home, so we need to be careful and we need to be deliberate.”

Given L.A. County’s size, even relaxing a few provisions of the local health order could significantly increase how many people are coming into contact with one another, public health director Barbara Ferrer said.

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That, she added, is why “we’re going to go extraordinarily slow, and the reason why is we don’t want to be doing this at the expense of people’s lives.”

“We reserve the right to be mindful that, if the data looks like we’re moving in the wrong direction, we’ll need to take a different set of actions,” she said.

In Ventura County, curbside pickup will soon also be available at bookstores, clothing stores, florists and sporting goods stores, officials there said.


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