California Sun

Good morning. It's Wednesday, May 6.

Counties move to adopt a hodgepodge of reopening plans.
AirBnb plans to terminate a quarter of its workforce.
And a revival of interest in drive-in movie theaters.



Two men performed for spare change in Los Angeles's Boyle Heights on April 29.

Brian van der Brug/L.A. Times via Getty Images

With California poised to relax its statewide stay-home order on Friday — letting many retailers resume curbside pickup — counties were crafting plans according to their own public health situations. Some said they would allow curbside pickup, others were planning to give the green light to in-store shopping, and still others already have.

A sampler of reports from around the state:

In San Diego, where curbside pickup has already been happening for weeks, shop owners were baffled by Gov. Gavin Newsom's announcement, which didn't appear to change anything. S.D. Union-Tribune
L.A. County's top health official offered little new guidance, except to warn against rushing: "We have to do everything we can to be on a slow path toward recovery." L.A. Daily News
In Bakersfield, restaurants started welcoming dine-in patrons back on Monday and Tuesday. "It looks like home again now," said a coffee shop owner. Bakersfield Californian
Fresno Mayor Lee Brand said many retailers would be allowed to reopen for in-store shopping on Monday. He cited Newsom's dimmer switch: "We are turning that switch on." Fresno Bee
Much of the Bay Area remained in a holding pattern, but Marin County was eyeing May 18 to reopen shops for curbside pickup. S.F. Chronicle
Counties aiming to ease restrictions on Friday in line with state guidelines included Ventura, San Bernardino, Stanislaus, Sacramento, Sonoma, Napa, and Humboldt.

Some medical professionals are uneasy about all the talk of reopening. Dr. Jeffrey Smith, Santa Clara County's executive officer, on Tuesday: "I just want to point out that we're still, in California, going up dramatically. So there's no clinical evidence that shelter-in-place [orders] should be relaxed at this point." L.A. Times

Mercury News editorial board: "The rush to reopen businesses is premature and ignores the warnings of health experts and the basic science of the novel coronavirus."


Michelle Harris cut a client's hair at Rockabetty's Hair Parlor in Yuba City on Monday.

Rich Pedroncelli/A.P.

Gov. Gavin Newsom chastised Sutter and Yuba counties on Tuesday, saying they had made "a big mistake" by allowing restaurants, gyms, hair salons, and other businesses to reopen on Monday. "They're putting the public at risk," he added. Even so, he stopped short of threatening any enforcement action. County officials seemed unfazed by Newsom's remarks. One supervisor said he found them irritating. A.P. | Sacramento Bee


A first-time weekly drop in statewide deaths, two employee infections at Trader Joe's in San Francisco, and an alarming cluster of cases at Chino Prison. Here are the latest coronavirus totals, according to the S.F. Chronicle and N.Y. Times:

Confirmed cases:
1,210,600 in U.S.
58,693 in California
8,980 in Bay Area
44,419 in Southern California

71,000 in U.S.
2,377 in California

Cumulative infections and deaths in California:

Sources: California Department of Public Health; SF Chronicle

See trackers of cases in California, the U.S., and worldwide.


People lined a sidewalk in San Francisco's Tenderloin on March 20.

Juliet Williams/A.P.

Fed up, the oldest law school in California is suing San Francisco over homeless camps and brazen drug dealing in the Tenderloin. UC Hastings School of Law said the city had, in effect, designated the neighborhood as a "containment zone" for unwanted elements: "San Francisco should be prohibited from abandoning a single neighborhood, in an apparent effort to spare other neighborhoods the burdens that confront the city." S.F. Examiner | S.F. Chronicle

N.Y. Times opinion: The coronavirus is worsening class divides in San Francisco.


With the travel industry in free fall, Airbnb said it would terminate a quarter of its workforce, nearly 2,000 jobs, in one of Silicon Valley's largest single layoffs since the pandemic struck. The announcement is a dramatic reversal of fortune for a company once regarded as among the tech industry's most financially secure unicorns. recode | Mercury News

Report: California's tourism industry is on track to lose more than $72 billion in visitor spending this year. San Gabriel Valley Tribune | CBSLA


Sunbathers gathered near the Newport Beach Pier on April 25.

Mindy Schauer/O.C. Register via Getty Images

Images of crowds at Southern California beaches two Saturdays ago drew condemnation online, a rebuke from the governor, and ultimately the closure of all 42 miles of Orange County coast. But one widely shared photo, above, became the subject of controversy, as some claimed it was fake — it wasn't — and others said its use of a telephoto lens was misleading. A photography website did an explainer. PetaPixel


There have been reports of a drive-in movie revival across the United States as theatergoers adapt to venturing out in the age of social distancing. Now a California drive-in chain has announced that it's reopening theaters in San Jose, Concord, and Sacramento — "but with STRICT rules!!" it said. Mercury News | KQED

What will it be like to go back regular movie cinemas? Think airport security. WIRED


People walked along a San Clemente beach on Tuesday after it was reopened.

Paul Bersebach/O.C. Register via Getty Images

Other odds and ends:

Coronavirus testing of 4,160 people in San Francisco's Mission District found that 90 percent shared a common trait: They were unable to work from home. S.F. Chronicle | SFist
The Troubadour, a historic L.A. club, has played host to Nina Simone, Joni Mitchell, Richard Pryor, and other luminaries for 60 years. Now it's counting on a GoFundMe campaign to survive. L.A. Times | L.A. Daily News
At least five Orange County cities have been given the go-ahead to reopen after Newsom ordered the county's coast shut last week. Beachgoers can surf and run, but not hang around. A.P. | O.C. Register



California is suing Uber and Lyft, accusing the companies of failing to abide by a landmark state law that aimed to reclassify gig workers and employees. Both sides cited the pandemic: The state said drivers who get sick would lack worker protections. Responding, Uber said a moment of economic crisis was no time to erect obstacles to earning. Washington Post | Ars Technica


Last November, a private equity group announced plans to buy the dot-org domain from a nonprofit. Critics warned that the digital real estate home to millions of nonprofits could face price increases and even censorship. Then California's attorney general got involved, voicing opposition to the sale in a scathing letter to ICANN, the California-based group that oversees the internet naming system. ICANN cancelled the sale, citing "uncertainty" for the domain. N.Y. Times | The Verge

The Wall Street Journal's editorial board called California's intervention an "internet coup" by "the nation's most left-wing state government."


Ron Finley, in Los Angeles, is trying to revolutionize ideas about gardening in the inner city.

Todd Williamson/Getty Images

"Everybody should have a garden to cultivate."

Ron Finley, also known as the "gangsta gardener," says that to live in South Central Los Angeles is to be in a "food prison." In a moment of inspiration in 2010, he planted vegetables and fruits in a strip of land between his house and the street. Informed the garden was illegal, he got the law changed. Ten years and a popular TED Talk later, dozens of community gardens are growing in formerly unused spaces around Los Angeles. The Guardian


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The California Sun is written by Mike McPhate, a former California correspondent for the New York Times.

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