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Gyms, bars and museums set to reopen this week in San Diego County

A tuna jumps out of the water as it is reeled in by a fisherman
Sportfishing operations in San Diego County have been cleared to reopen.
(Misael Virgen)

Day camps, campgrounds, RV parks, sportfishing businesses and small charter boats are clear to reopen immediately, and a broader group of activities and businesses, including the San Diego Zoo, can reopen Friday morning, San Diego County officials said this week.

After poring over state reopening guidance released Friday afternoon, county officials said they are exercising their local authority to allow relatively quick resumption, provided all involved read and follow state guidance and fill out a county safe-reopening plan. A full list of reopening designations is available at sandiegocounty.gov.

County Supervisor Greg Cox said during a COVID briefing Monday afternoon that he is particularly excited to see San Diego’s sportfishing fleet get back underway after spending months dockside.

“We are excited that soon you will be able to cast some lines in our local waters,” Cox said.

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Though not specifically mentioned under the governor’s guidance for day camps, Dr. Wilma Wooten said Monday that the guidance also applies to youth sports, but only for practices, not games.

“It includes the ability for small groups of individuals — it could be students, teenagers — to go out and practice whatever sport it is, but not in a competitive manner,” Wooten said, adding that, while guidance on full resumption of youth sports is under consideration at the state level, a specific date has not yet been set.

Wooten was also asked about an ongoing investigation into novel coronavirus infections at Hilltop Tabernacle Church in Chula Vista. Reports of the church resuming services against health orders generated police visits, but no citations, at the location on March 31 and April 11.

Wooten confirmed her department is “aware of cases” at the church and is investigating, but declined to say how many people have gotten sick or how they are connected to the house of worship.

She also added that the county has detected some small outbreaks in “private settings,” such as “people’s homes,” in recent weeks. She said that private citizens need to be very careful, as do those marching in protests, to adhere to the practices that have, so far, kept the pandemic from getting out of control in San Diego County.

“When you invite people who are not part of the household, you are introducing additional germs into your personal environment,” Wooten said.

Among the additional openings allowed Friday are schools, media productions, gyms and fitness facilities, pools, bars, wineries, museums, galleries, card rooms, satellite wagering facilities and zoos, aquariums, museums and galleries. Pool guidance includes those that are part of condominium neighborhoods.

It’s a big list, stressed Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, and individual organizations need to make sure they read the governor’s restrictions around reopening and fill out the county’s safe reopening plan before resuming operations.

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It’s important, Fletcher added, that the public and businesses work to maintain vital social distancing practices, and continue washing hands and wearing face coverings to avoid increases in cases as so many attractions and businesses resume operation. Other communities in the state, he noted, have already started to see upticks in the numbers of cases.

“We want to make sure that that’s not us here in San Diego,” Fletcher said.

Still closed are nail salons, tattoo parlors, facial salons, movie theaters and therapeutic massage businesses. Conventions, concerts and sporting events with live audiences remain on indefinite hiatus.

The county announced 143 new cases from 3,844 test results received for a positive percentage of 4%. The county’s 14-day rolling average for positive rate now sits at 3.1%, slightly higher than the previous low of 2.9%. The county announced no additional deaths Monday. The total remains at 296.

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Sisson and Cook write for the San Diego Union-Tribune.


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