County OKs in-person dining and retail shopping; asks governor to approve pilot program to go further

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors gave the go-ahead Tuesday for the county to accelerate Stage 2 easing of coronavirus restrictions, which would allow empty restaurant dining rooms to serve customers again, with social distancing.

The pilot would allow some Stage 3 activities to begin, including outdoor religious services, salons and gyms


San Diego County supervisors gave the go-ahead Tuesday for the county to accelerate its entrance into Stage 2 easing of coronavirus restrictions, which would allow retail shopping and restaurants to cater to in-person patrons while abiding by social distancing guidelines.

However, those changes will not go into effect immediately, as the Stage 2 plan needs state approval, something supervisors and county staff indicated they expect will be provided.

Additionally, the board voted 4-1 to make a request to the governor to launch a pilot program for reopening some Stage 3 activities in the county as well, including some youth sports and clubs, outdoor religious services, research labs, and therapeutic and peer support groups of fewer than 10 people.

The pilot, if approved by Gov. Gavin Newsom, also would allow salons and fitness facilities in San Diego County to operate at 25 percent capacity by appointment.

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher was the lone board member to vote against pursuing the pilot program, saying that since the county hadn’t yet fully implemented Stage 2, it isn’t time to move toward Stage 3.

The county was eligible to advance further into Stage 2 of California’s Resiliency Roadmap because it hit several criteria, including a stabilization of new COVID-19 cases and having appropriate testing and hospital capacity.

“Based on the six readiness criteria, variance criteria and the county’s data, I can confidently say that San Diego County is ready to move toward the accelerated Stage 2 and begin to reopen,“ said Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer.

County Chief Executive Helen Robbins-Meyer also said the county meets Stage 2 acceleration criteria. According to the county, that includes:

• Less than 5 percent of daily COVID-19 hospitalizations over a seven-day period or no more than 20 COVID-19 hospitalizations on any single day in the past 14 days

• Fewer than 25 new cases per 100,000 residents in the past 14 days or less than 8 percent testing positive in the past seven days

• Capacity to test 1.5 of every 1,000 residents

• Hospital capacity for a possible surge of 35 percent in COVID-19 hospitalizations

As of Tuesday, San Diego County has seen 6,026 COVID-19 cases and 222 related deaths. The number of cases reported Tuesday was an increase of 80 from the day before, and 11 more deaths were recorded.

City News Service and PB Monthly staff contributed to this report.