These 11 California counties are still not allowed to reopen restaurants, malls and schools

SAN FRANCISCO -- Exactly what's open and what's not in California really depends on which county you find yourself in.

Why the staggered response? It's because Gov. Gavin Newsom is allowing for local variance when it comes to how quickly (or slowly) counties want to reopen their economies.

Some sectors are allowed to reopen (with modifications) everywhere in the state in Stage 2, as long as the county gives the green light. Those sectors include retail (for curbside pickup), manufacturing, logistics, childcare facilities, offices where people can't telework, car washes, pet groomers, landscapers and outdoor museums.

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However, if a county wants to open schools, dine-in restaurants or shopping malls - sort of like a Stage 2.5 of reopening - they have to go through an attestation process, in which they certify the spread of COVID-19 is under control locally.

As of Monday, all but 11 of California's 58 counties have completed that process. The only counties not allowed to move into Stage 2.5 are Alameda, Contra Costa, Imperial, Los Angeles, Marin, Monterey, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Tulare counties.

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More than half of the counties where stricter measures must remain in place are in the Bay Area.

Los Angeles County, which has nearly half of all the state's confirmed COVID-19 cases, is also still on the list.

Imperial County, on California's southern border with Mexico, saw a spike in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations last week, and is therefore being held back from further reopening.

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In order to be approved for further reopening, counties have to prove to the state they meet the following criteria:

  • Stable or decreasing hospitalization rate OR no more than 20 people hospitalized in the county for the last 14 days

  • No more than 25 individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 per 100,000 residents over past 14 days

  • Test positivity rate of less than 8%

  • Essential workers must have access to PPE

  • A minimum capacity of 1.5 tests per 1,000 residents daily

  • At least 15 contact tracers per 100,000 residents

  • Ability to temporarily house 15% of the county's homeless population


  • Hospitals are equipped to handle a 35% surge at minimum

  • Nursing facilities have a two-week supply of PPE

  • Continue to monitor metrics to potentially re-enact restrictions


Regardless of where they open in the state, restaurants, shopping centers and schools will have to follow strict guidelines to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

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Higher risk businesses, where the spread of COVID-19 is more likely, are not allowed to open anywhere in the state. That includes salons, barbershops, gyms and entertainment venues.

For more news coverage on the coronavirus and COVID-19 go to ABC30.com/coronavirus
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