Berkeley may ease business operating restrictions, but advises caution

The Berkeley health officer is prepared to allow indoor and outdoor retail, religious services, outdoor restaurant dining, outdoor museums, and outdoor fitness classes to open by Friday if cases and hospitalization figures stay stable, the city said.

The determination will be made closely following state guidelines and with the warning that there is no vaccine or treatment for the novel coronavirus, meaning precautions such as distancing and wearing a face covering when within 30 feet of someone should be followed.

"Increased activities means that there will be increased spread of the virus, and we will continue to see more cases and potentially deaths," said City Health Officer Dr. Lisa B. Hernandez. "Every person and every organization must take steps to limit the spread of COVID-19 inside their homes, workplaces and when outside those sites as well."

Because of the risk still involved, the city and other jurisdictions in the county are increasing testing availability beyond those with symptoms, monitoring and providing personal protective equipment to health care facilities, and increasing the number of case interviewers and contact tracers to investigate each positive case, identify others possibly exposed for isolation or quarantine.

Per state guidelines, indoor and outdoor retail and outdoor dining will be allowed at reduced capacity and pick-up and delivery options remain strongly recommended to limit lines and crowds.

Religious services will be permitted to resume for up to 100 people or less than 25 percent building capacity, whichever is lower. Religious groups are encouraged to continue virtual services to limit exposure chances for high-risk members, limit attendance to 25 people and offer services outdoors.