The Blue Shield of California logo

COVID-19 Resource Center for Employers, Plan Sponsors, Brokers and Consultants

A group of people walking down the street, wearing masks.

B2B General

May 19, 2020 - 2 min read

What is “phased re-opening?”

Understanding the path back to an open California


On April 28, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the Resilience Roadmap: a four-staged plan designed to safely return Californians to work. Currently, the stages are:

  1. Safety and preparedness

    1. Make workplaces safe for our essential workers.

  2. Lower-risk workplaces (as of May 19, 2020, we are here)

    1. Gradually reopen retail (curbside only), manufacturing & logistics. Later, relax retail restrictions, adapt & reopen schools, child care, offices and limited hospitality, personal services.

  3. Higher-risk workplaces

    1. Adapt and reopen movie theaters, religious services, & more personal & hospitality services.

  4. End of Stay Home Order

    1. Reopen areas of highest risk: e.g. concerts, conventions, sports arenas

A group of people crossing a busy street, with buildings in the background.

Advancing from one stage to the next is determined by six key indicators that are designed to safely and accurately determine progress. These indicators are:

  1. The ability to monitor and protect our communities through testing, contact tracing, isolating, and supporting those who are positive or exposed;

  2. The ability to prevent infection in people who are at risk for more severe COVID-19;

  3. The ability of the hospital and the health systems to handle surges;

  4. The ability to develop therapeutics to meet the demand;

  5. The ability for businesses, schools, and child care facilities to support physical distancing; and

  6. The ability to determine when to reinstitute certain measures, such as the stay-at-home orders, if necessary.

A doctor's hand, putting a stethoscope to a patient's chest.

There is no set time frame for when one stage ends and the next begins.

Rather, state health officials will make those determinations after monitoring conditions and weighing them against the six indicators.

In order to re-open sooner, some businesses may be required to adjust their current setups. For example, schools may need to reduce the number of classrooms and the number of students in them, while some restaurants may need to reduce the number of tables they use. It’s important to remember that these would be temporary measures, designed to get us to Stage 4 (End of Stay Home Order).

To help reduce risk and advance to the next stage, employers and businesses are encouraged to plan and prepare accordingly. This includes making changes within the workplace, as well as adjusting practices to help educate employees and customers.

For Blue Shield of California, this means creating a company-wide task force – and ultimately, a playbook that everyone can reference. With thousands of employees weighing in on everything from safety to staging, the goal will be to make a document that’s as comprehensive as it is reassuring.

"It's definitely going to be a well-choreographed, go slow to go fast return-to-work strategy," says Mary O'Hara, chief human resources officer.

If your business does not have a plan or needs help developing one, consider the following resources:

alt text

For more information about California’s COVID-19 response, visit covid19.ca.gov.