Riverside and San Bernardino Counties to open Phase 2:  churches, restaurants, salons and select retail

Kopper Kettle Kafe is open for socially distanced dine-in services.

There have been many changes over the past few days with the announcement of reopening restaurants, stores, salons, and places of worship. Local businesses are scrambling to prepare for opening after several long weeks of being closed, due to stay-at-home orders with the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a press release from San Bernardino County Health Department, the county has flattened the COVID-19 curve and secured the resources needed to continue keeping the novel coronavirus under control, dine-in restaurants, stores and malls can now reopen with safety measures throughout the county after a state-ordered shutdown that lasted more than two months.

“San Bernardino County businesses and residents worked very hard and made tremendous sacrifices to make this moment possible,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman. “Your efforts to keep our community safe and healthy have paid off. We can now proceed significantly further toward resuming our normal lives.

In Yucaipa, a number of dine-in restaurants opened over the weekend with social-distanced eating areas. Kopper Kettle Kafe was one of the local eateries that opened its doors on Sunday.

Kopper Kettle owner Stacey Dean said she was busy completing a cosmetic improvement on the restaurant when she started to get a few phone calls about the county’s decision to open restaurants.

“We scrambled to get ready and I was so relieved to finally open,” said Dean.

Accelerated Phase 2

The California Department of Public Health on Saturday, May 23, approved the county’s request to reopen more businesses as part of the governor’s accelerated Phase 2. Part of the accelerated Stage 2 phase recovery plan includes destination retail stores, including shopping malls and swap meets and dine-in restaurants. However, gyms, movie theaters, sports and entertainment venues, libraries, bars and wineries, hotels and motels, and public swimming facilities won’t be authorized to reopen until Stages 3 and 4. There is no set date for Stage 3 and 4.

Another unexpected announcement came on May 26, as Gov. Newsom announced salons and barbershops can reopen immediately.

The California Department of Public Health announced on May 25 the statewide reopening of places of worship for religious services and in-store retail shopping. Subject to approval by county public health departments, all retail stores can reopen for in-store shopping under previously issued guidelines.

The existing guidance for retailers, previously allowed for counties approved to advance in the reopening process, now applies statewide. Retail can now open for in-store shopping statewide. The guidelines help reduce the risk for workers and customers. Retail does not include personal services such as hair salons, nail salons and barbershops.

According to the press release dated May 23, in 21 days, the Department of Public Health, in consultation with local departments of public health, will review and assess the impact of the religious services guidelines and provide further direction as part of a phased-in restoration of activities. This 21-day interval accounts for seven days for religious communities to prepare and reopen in addition to a 14-day incubation period of COVID-19.

Places of worship

According to a press release from Riverside County Health Department, churches, temples, synagogues, mosques and other places of worship may now reopen in Riverside County following statewide guidance to allow religious services throughout the state.

This statewide allowance comes after Riverside County requested on May 15 for religious services to have special consideration for reopening during the state’s accelerated stage two.

“This is a significant step in the reopening process and we look forward to working with our places of worship with any assistance they need,” said Board Chair V. Manuel Perez, Fourth District Supervisor. “A cornerstone of many religions is to take care of each other. Let’s continue to take care of each other by praying and observing six feet apart.”

Under new guidance, places of worship can hold religious services and funerals that limit attendance to 25% of a building’s capacity – or up to 100 attendees, whichever is lower – upon approval by the county department of public health.

The new guidance for religious services and cultural ceremonies encourages organizations to continue online services and activities, including to protect individuals who are most at risk for more severe COVID-19, including older adults and people with specific medical conditions.

To reopen for religious services and funerals, places of worship must follow state guidelines.

“People of all faiths have been longing for the day when they can worship with each other in person again,” said Vice Chair Karen Spiegel, Second District Supervisor. “An important part of getting through this together is keeping our faith strong. By taking these safety precautions, we can choose to practice our faith in person again and do so safely.”

More information about the state’s COVID-19 guidance is on the California Department of Public Health's Guidance web page.​​​

More information about reopening California and what individuals can do to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is available at covid19.ca.gov.

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