The value of masks

Moving forward

Napa County reopens golf courses with new rules in place

There are encouraging signs that California’s mandatory shelter-in-place rules are easing, but businesses won’t reopen all at once and when they do open people will need to continue taking safety precautions.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has lifted restrictions on life-saving medical procedures, such as surgeries to remove tumors or implant heart valves, but non-essential procedures like plastic surgery are still prohibited.

Another example of “return to normal” comes from Napa County, which is allowing golf courses to reopen albeit with new rules. For example, golfers can only play as a two-some instead of the usual four-some. And golfers practicing at driving ranges must stay 10 feet apart.

Despite the small steps, don’t expect things to go back the way they were anytime soon, Newsom warned.

That sentiment is echoed by Santa Clara County health director Sara Cody, who said on April 23 that “this pandemic is going to be with us for a very, very, very long time. We know that we do not have immunity in the population nor do we have a vaccine. So, any time that we let up on our mitigation measures we are going to expect to see a spike in cases, hospitalizations and deaths. That is certain.”

It’s a dicey situation, with political leaders and health officials trying to balance the need to save lives and save the economy.

That’s why Good Samaritan Hospital’s Dr. Noor Sachdev says people returning to work must adhere to strict rules.

“It’s really important to maintain social distancing at work,” he said. “Keep at least six feet apart, minimize your conversations and still wear masks. And if you become symptomatic in any way you have to leave work right away; you cannot stay on the job.”

Sanitation must also be top-of-mind.

“Wash your hands at work because you’ll all be touching the same doorknobs. Those things will need to be cleaned and make sure your workstation is thoroughly cleaned. Just pay extra attention to those things,” Dr. Sachdev said.

The same technology that has allowed many Silicon Valley workers to remain on-the-job can be utilized in large work situations, too, the doctor said.

“Even if you’re at work it would be good to work remotely using the technologies we have for meetings and such,” he said. “I would not recommend meetings in a big room — I think those days are over, to be honest with you, because the risk is too high. Those are considered super-spreaders.”

When businesses do reopen, shaking hands would still be a no-no and sharing papers should be discouraged, Dr. Sachdev said.

“As an employer you have to really educate your people. Each employee has to take this very seriously. It’s kind of a privilege for them to go back to work,” he said. “If they don’t (follow the rules) they need to be sent home. Employers need to be very rigorous in terms of how they monitor because if one person has COVID and they get the rest of your workers sick then your work is done. It’s over. If you can phase workers in, I think that will be the best way of doing it rather than bringing back everybody at one time.”

Dr. Sachdev went on to say, “We cannot afford a rebound. That would be so costly and would hurt the economy much more. It would mean we’d have a much longer shelter-in-place.”

He urged people to be patient and said, “Remember this is community over self right now.”

Precautions that employers can take

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