Deserted streets and abandoned shopping centers have become familiar scenes during the COVID-19 pandemic, but that is likely to change as California begins relaxing its mandatory shelter-in-place orders this week. (Photo by Teri Vershel/Pro Bono Photo)

Some Californians may be able to get a little more sunshine starting Friday as the state gradually begins lifting its shelter-in-place restrictions, according to the governor’s office.

Public spaces and businesses that pose a lower risk to the health of workers and customers may resume operations with adaptations and modifications.

Guidelines for the reopening will be released Thursday.

Some of the businesses that can reopen include bookstores, clothing stores, florists and sporting goods stores. The governor’s office said business owners or managers will need to make changes to reduce the risk that people will catch the coronavirus.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement that because millions of Californians stayed home “we are in a position to begin moving into our next stage of modifying our stay at home order.”

“But make no mistake — this virus isn’t gone. It’s still dangerous and poses a significant public health risk,” Newsom said.

The governor has a four-stage plan to reopen the state. The changes he proposed for Friday is the beginning of stage two and the changes are based on indicators of the state’s progress.

The indicators consist of the stability of hospitalizations, the inventory of personal protective equipment, health care surge capacity, testing capacity, contact tracing capability and the placement of public health guidance.

Some counties may be able to move through stage two more quickly than others, if they can show state officials that they are ready based on state criteria.

Keith Burbank is currently a fulltime reporter covering Alameda County and Oakland news for Pagransen. He has also worked on the Data Points project for Pagransen, finding trends and stories about the region through data. In 2019, he was a California Fellow at the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism, producing a series about homeless deaths in Santa Clara County. He worked as a swing shift editor for the newswire for several years as well. Outside of journalism, Keith enjoys computer programming, math, economics and music.