CSAC Bulletin Article

More Counties Allowed to Reopen Stage 2 Businesses

May 21, 2020

Governor Newsom announced a modified county variance framework  while in Napa County to allow many medium and some large counties to accelerate within Stage 2 of the California Resilience Roadmap. Counties may submit plans and attestations for the new modified variance immediately. But, like the first variance process, any county variance only allows a county to reopen specified sectors within Stage 2 of the state’s roadmap.
The modified variance provides more flexibility in some of the readiness criteria and eliminates the number of COVID-19 deaths as a factor. To see the new metrics, visit the state’s county variance page and click on the boxes below the title “County Criteria to move further into Stage 2” labeled county case metrics, county preparedness, and county response.
Below are the major changes announced:

  • COVID-19 deaths are not considered in any part of the new variance.
  • Excludes state and federal prison inmate cases from the criteria, but does include cases among institutional staff.
  • Includes county inmates and jail staff in the criteria and measurements.
  • Includes Skilled Nursing Facility residents and staff in the criteria and measurements.
  • Hospitalization criteria: 7-day average hospitalization increase of lower than 5 percent OR no more than 20 COVID-19 positive cases admitted to hospitals in last 14 days.
  • Testing criteria: No more than 25 COVID-19 positive case 100,000 residents cumulatively over last 14 days OR less than 8 percent COVID-19 positive case rate over last 7 days (measured against number of tests performed). Still requires at least 1.5 tests performed per 1000 residents and testing accessibility of within 30 minutes in an urban area and 60 minutes for a rural area.
  • A containment preparedness plan and details for handling the needs of special populations (elders, homeless individuals, minority and underserved populations) are still required.

CSAC applauds Governor Newsom and his team for modifying the variance requirements in a safe, measured fashion, with respect for local expertise in assessing conditions and local control over readiness within each county. As of Thursday morning, 40 counties have met the requirements for a Stage 2 variance. View the list of counties and allowable business activities within Stage 2 here.

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