Retailers across California will be able to reopen with modifications that could involve curbside pickup, deliveries, physical distancing, masks and hand sanitizer beginning May 8.

Gov. Gavin Newsom made the announcement on May 7 after the state experienced weeks of stabilized hospitalizations and intensive care unit visits as well as increased testing and contact tracing capacity. The decision signals a shift to phase two of the governor’s four-phase plan to reopen the state. This phase focuses on adapting and reopening lower risk sectors of the economy. 

Newsom also signed an executive order on May 6 expanding workers’ compensation to all workers who test positive for COVID-19, retroactive to March 19. Previously, only healthcare workers who tested positive for the virus were eligible for workers’ compensation.

Newsom has expressed a commitment to base reopening decisions on public health data alone. Some counties — such as Yuba, Sutter and Modoc — loosened restrictions on businesses without a state go-ahead. Newsom said his government is working with counties that wish to go further in their reopening but cautioned against taking unilateral measures without state approval.

The state government will continue to look into ways to safely open offices, dine-in restaurants, shopping malls, outdoor museums and churches with modifications in the near future, though Newsom didn’t announce a specific timeline.