By Kathy Chouteau
Starting Tuesday, May 19 at 6 a.m., “non-essential” retail stores in Contra Costa County may offer curbside sales or other outdoor pickups of orders but must implement safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“Stores may not display merchandise for sale on tables or otherwise outside the stores,” the County said in a statement. “Customers may not enter the store or interior of any indoor shopping mall. Stores must also employ reasonable measures to require customers to comply with social distancing requirements at the pickup areas, including marking locations at six-foot intervals for customers to stand while waiting in line.”
Also allowed to resume operations are businesses that manufacture retail goods and provide warehousing or logistical support to retail stores to operate. However, they must limit the number of staff in enclosed areas for social distancing.
Also Tuesday, outdoor vehicle-based gatherings will be allowed, with restrictions, allowing new options for religious services and graduation ceremonies.
“While this is not a return to normal, it is one step in that direction,” said Dr. Chris Farnitano, Contra Costa County’s health officer. “We will be closely monitoring the effects of allowing curbside retail on the spread of COVID-19 in the community.”
County health officials say the continued easing of the shelter-in-place is attributed to community efforts to contain the coronavirus. The number of new cases has been stable or decreasing, even with increased, testing; the number of patients with COVID-19 is stable and there is currently ample hospital capacity, with 19 COVID-positive patients hospitalized as opposed to the high of 44 in mid-April; a continued increase in COVID-19 tests in the region; improved supply of personal protective equipment at hospitals; and an increased capacity for investigating and contact tracing.
“Thanks to the steadfast commitment of our residents to stay home, practice social distancing, and follow public health guidance, we have seen sustained progress on several key indicators regarding containment of COVID-19,” said Bay Area health officers in a joint statement released by Contra Costa Health Services.
For more information, visit the Contra Costa Health Services website here.