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San Bernardino wins state approval to start reopening restaurants and retailers

San Bernardino County on Saturday became the latest in California to get the green light from state health officials to reopen restaurants and retail stores. On Friday, the county asked the state’s health department if it can move further into Stage 2 of California’s 4-stage plan — when dining inside restaurants and shopping inside stores […]

San Bernardino County on Saturday became the latest in California to get the green light from state health officials to reopen restaurants and retail stores.

On Friday, the county asked the state’s health department if it can move further into Stage 2 of California’s 4-stage plan — when dining inside restaurants and shopping inside stores can resume with some restrictions. County officials said San Bernardino won approval Saturday.

With a population of more than 2.1 million, the county has reported 4,315 known cases of COVID-19 and 176 deaths.

“San Bernardino County businesses and residents worked very hard and made tremendous sacrifices to make this moment possible,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman said in a statement.

To reopen, counties must meet certain requirements from state health officials. Among these are ensuring enough hospital resources and capacity are available for a 35% surge in COVID-19 cases and reporting less then 25 new cases per 100,000 residents in the past 14 days.

A full list of requirements for county preparedness are on the state’s COVID-19 website.

“This virus is still very present throughout our county, state and nation, so we must remain vigilant by physical distancing, wearing face coverings, and washing our hands often,” Hagman said. “But our goal of minimizing illness and building the capacity to protect the vulnerable, serve the sick, and track the virus in our communities has been achieved.”

Later stages of California’s reopening plan will resume operations at higher-risk settings such as hair and nail salons, movie theaters, bars and libraries, and eventually, nightclubs and larger venues like concert halls.