Fashion Valley Mall in Mission Valley is almost empty amid policies requiring social distancing.
Stores in Fashion Valley Mall in Mission Valley will be allowed to reopen for product pickup. Photo by Chris Stone

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday that more California businesses can reopen on a limited basis, including offices, malls for purchase pickup, pet groomers and car washes.

He also floated the possibility of restaurants beginning to allow sit-down dining, releasing new guidelines so that food businesses can make plans. However, he did not discuss a possible date for this step.

While giving state approval to the latest reopenings, the Governor said individual counties can be more restrictive, and indicated those in the Bay Area and around Los Angeles are likely to do so because of the greater number of COVID-19 cases.

“Not everyone is compelled into this phase. But that phase is afforded to everybody,” said Newsom in his daily briefing.

San Diego County will allow all business listed by the Governor to reopen immediately, without seeking tougher restrictions.

“We continue to encourage telework,” said Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, “but for individuals who need to be physically present, office space businesses can resume their operations.”

Fletcher said that “any configuration of mall can reopen,” though only for pickup or delivery, not in-person shopping yet.

“We do ask that each of these businesses go to the county website and fill out our safe reopening plan,” he added.

The restaurant guidelines released by the Governor include health screening of patrons, mandatory distancing of six feet between workers and diners, face coverings for workers, limiting each table to a single household group, disposable menus and no shared condiments. Bars that do not serve food must remain closed, unless they can contract with another vendor for food.

Counties with few or stabilized cases can apply to the state for permission to open more businesses now, including restaurants serving sit-down meals. Rural Butte and El Dorado counties received that permission on Tuesday.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.