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LATEST UPDATES: Racial Justice | Tracking COVID-19 (coronavirus)

California To Allow Schools, Gyms And Bars Reopen Next Week

Chabot Elementary School fourth grade teacher Laura Shield talks with a stude...

Photo by Jeff Chiu / AP

Above: Chabot Elementary School fourth grade teacher Laura Shield talks with a student in her class in Oakland, Calif., Monday, March 4, 2019.

California will allow schools, day camps, bars, gyms, campgrounds and professional sports to begin reopening with modifications starting next Friday.

The state will release guidance later Friday for counties to follow to reopen a broad range of businesses that have been closed since mid-March because of concerns about spreading the coronavirus, said Mark Ghaly, secretary of the California Health and Human Services agency.

The rules on schools and day camps will apply statewide. But only counties that have met certain thresholds on the number of cases, testing and preparedness will be allowed to start reopening the other sectors. Almost all of the state's 58 counties have met those metrics. The state's guidance will also include rules on hotels, casinos, museums, zoos and aquariums and the resumption of music, film and television production.

Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom has been moving the state through a methodical four-step process for reopening. Most of the new businesses are part of “Phase 3.” Nail salons will not be included in the list, Ghaly said.

When students return to classrooms, things could look vastly different. The state plans to supply every school and childcare center with no-touch thermometers, face shields for every teacher, cloth face coverings for staff and students, disposable mask, tight-fitting N95 masks for health care professionals in schools and hand sanitizer.

The state has already allowed most counties to reopen restaurants, hair salons, churches, and retail stores with modifications.

Ghaly stressed that its up to counties to determine whether they are ready to reopen based on their ability to manage an expected increase in the number of those testing positive. He said Thursday that the state's coronavirus cases and hospitalizations remain stable.

But the state is monitoring and preparing for a potential increase in cases due to broader reopening and mass protests across the state against racial injustice.

California has reported more than 122,000 coronavirus cases and more than 4,400 deaths.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause pneumonia and death.

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