Reopening San Diego

What the Stage 3 Pilot Program Would Mean for Local Businesses, If Approved

San Diego County may be days into Governor Gavin Newsom's accelerated stage 2 reopening plan, but it has already submitted to the state a stage 3 pilot program proposal that would allow places like salons and community pools to reopen with limited capacity.

Fitness centers, youth sports/clubs, apartment and community pools, outdoor religious services, and personal services like salons and barbershops would be allowed to reopen with new safety measures.

Salons and barbershops would have to ensure customers do not have fevers or symptoms of sickness, implement sessions by appointment only, and require employees to wear non-cloth face masks. The county also said the businesses should have employees wear face shields and disposable gloves.

Gyms would have to practice similar safety measures. The county strongly suggested gyms prohibit group sports and close showers, steam rooms and saunas -- if the plan is approved.

Included in the proposal are therapeutic and peer support groups with no more than 12 people.

Businesses in the regular stage 3, but not in the proposed pilot program, include movie theaters, sports leagues, tours, arts and cultural venues, and other personal services.

"San Diego County is an ideal location to test a pilot program for accelerated implementation of California's roadmap," the proposal said. "The County's Health and Human Services Agency is the nation's largest and longest standing integrated and comprehensive health, housing, and human services agency at the local level."

It said it has demonstrated overall stability in the number of COVID-19 patients admitted to intensive care units, related deaths, the downward trend of cases and more.

The county said, if allowed, its program could provide a playbook for other jurisdictions as the state eventually moves to stage 3.

Local business and economic groups in the Responsible COVID-19 Economic Reopening Taskforce wrote letters of support for the proposal. The Sheriff's Department and San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer also supported the proposal.

Approved by the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, the proposal was sent to the state on Thursday. Newsom said the state would likely advance into stage 3 in several weeks.

The board voted 4-1 in favor of sending the pilot program to state leaders with Supervisor Nathan Fletcher voting no.

"Governor Newsom has said he believes we will be ready to move into 'Stage 3' at the beginning of June. That is less than two weeks away and I believe a wiser course of action is to fully and safely implement 'Stage 2', monitor any impact of our public health situation, and prepare for successful implementation of 'Stage 3' in the coming weeks," Fletcher said.

Read the county's full proposal in the window below or click here.

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