What was first marketed as a temporary shutdown to avoid overwhelming local hospitals has quickly become the “new normal” until a coronavirus vaccine can be developed and widely distributed -- at least, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who now says the goalpost for a total reopen has now been moved from "flattening the curve" to achieving “immunity.”
After announcing that California stores this week can begin to gradually reopen – meaning they can allow limited numbers of customers while wearing masks and implementing “social distancing” – Newsome emphasized that his state is “not going back to normal” anytime soon.
“We’re not going back to normal," Newsom said during Tuesday’s press briefing. "It’s a new normal with adaptations and modifications, until we get to immunity and a vaccine.”
The Democratic governor added that counties and cities that don’t feel it’s safe to reopen may continue imposing strict lockdown measures despite his office’s green light to ease up.
Newsom came under fire last week for threatening to once again close the state’s beaches after thousands of residents flocked to the seaside during one of the year’s hottest days thus far. But as citizens buck against harsh rules that have shut down everything from restaurants to garden shops and gun stores, some locales have begun reopening despite the mandates. Modoc County, a small county of about 9,000 in the northwest part of the state, announced last week that they’re reopening in spite of the governor’s shutdown order, citing the “mental and physical health” of their residents and the fact that they have yet to see a single case of the coronavirus within their borders. Yuba and Sutter counties, located north of Sacramento and whose combined population of 175,000 have seen only 50 coronavirus cases and three deaths, quickly followed suit, allowing hair salons, churches, restaurants and move theaters to reopen provided customers stay six feet apart.