Riverside And Ventura Open Restaurants For Dine-In Service, In-Store Shopping
More than 40 counties statewide have gotten the go-ahead from Sacramento to reopen ahead of schedule.
The county got the ok to reopen restaurants for dine-in service on Wednesday, as well as indoor shopping. Businesses must register and submit a physical distancing plan to public health officials before they can open their doors to customers, and staff will need to wear face covering.
Most beaches there will be open. But, like L.A., Orange, and San Diego counties, visitors won't be allowed to gather in groups or linger on the sand for too long. Many beach parking lots will remain closed.
Mike Powers, the executive officer for Ventura County, says that could change after the Memorial Day weekend, depending on how things go.
To date, 30 people have died from COVID-19 in Ventura County, with more than 900 people testing positive for the virus.
Riverside County is reopening restaurants for sit-down service, as well as some retailers for in-store shopping. Masks, physical distancing, and access to frequent handwashing are required.
The California Department of Public Health approved the move effective Friday morning.
Dr. Geoffrey Leung with the Riverside County health system says low hospitalizations for the coronarvirus and its two-to-four percent positivity rate helped make the county's case. But he says testing is key to opening safely. Two new test sites are opening in Corona and San Jacinto.
"This gives us a total of 16 community test sites across our entire county. We have a capacity now to do 4,200 tests per day," he said.
Anyone in Riverside County, with or without symptoms can be tested for COVID-19. Leung is encouraging that children be tested to provide more insight into the infection rate among kids before school resumes.
They are no beaches in the Inland Empire, but Riverside is opening private pools and spas, such as those run by homeowner associations and apartment complexes. Public health officials made that choice earlier this month, saying the coronavirus pathogen does not migrate in water.
Health department spokesman Jose Arballo says properly-maintained chlorine in pools and spas is a must. Plus these precautions:
"Continue the social distancing at the pools ... [and] keep the number of people around the pool to a minimum if you can."
Riverside County has reported 6,464 cases of COVID-19 and 290 deaths.