Governor approves OC plan, Newport Beach businesses are opening up

Orange County’s plan to accelerate Phase 2 business reopening was approved Saturday, May 23, clearing a path for Newport Beach’s restaurants to offer modified dine-in service and destination retail to allow customers in stores, if the appropriate health and safety measures are in place.

The County of Orange submitted a variance request late Thursday, demonstrating evidence that the State health criteria for reopening certain business categories had been met.

The Governor’s office approved the plan Saturday, which allows for the reopening (with social-distancing modifications) of dine-in restaurants and destination retail (including shopping malls and swap meets). Earlier Phase 2 openings included office-based businesses, outdoor museums and open gallery spaces, car washes, pet grooming, tanning facilities and landscaping services. The City recommends that businesses review all guidance from the State and County health care agencies, including, specifically, the California Department of Public Health’s website discussing the following: 

–Perform a detailed risk assessment and implement a site-specific protection plan.

–Train employees on how to limit the spread of COVID-19, including how to screen themselves for symptoms and stay home if they have them. 

–Implement individual control measures and screenings.

–Implement disinfecting protocols. 

–Implement physical distancing guidelines. 

To help businesses reopen quickly and in accordance with State health and safety reopening guidelines, the Newport Beach City Council will meet today (Tuesday, May 26) to consider an emergency ordinance that, if approved, will streamline permitting and approvals for the necessary physical improvements. This emergency ordinance would specifically address outdoor dining and retail as well.

The proposed “Back to Business Newport Beach” program was developed to enable businesses to quickly obtain temporary use permits for modifications such as providing safe space for curbside pickup, offering takeout windows, expanding operations outdoors and more. 

Detailed information for specific industries can be found on Orange County’s website at For additional information from the Orange County Public Health Agency, visit For the State’s “Resilience Roadmap” to reopening businesses, visit