Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Tuesday that the entire state will reopen June 15 if California continues with its optimistic trend of decreased virus cases and more vaccine administrations.
“If we keep the pace, we are moving now beyond the blueprint,” he said in a press conference on Tuesday. “We are announcing today that on June 15, we will be moving beyond the blueprint and will be getting rid of the colored tiers.”
The announcement comes as states across the country have lifted health restrictions as more people get vaccinated. California had some of the nation's strictest pandemic rules, becoming the first to institute a statewide stay-at-home order last spring and adopting a complex, color-coded tier system that dictated which businesses could open and at what capacity depending on how widespread the virus was in a county.
Businesses can open with “common-sense risk reduction measures,” including mandated masking and encouraging vaccinations. The state will continue contact tracing and testing.
Most capacity limits will be lifted, although large-scale indoor events, such as conventions, will be allowed only with testing or vaccination verification requirements, Ghaly said.
“We can now begin planning for our lives post-pandemic,” the governor added later in a press release sent out by his office. “We will need to remain vigilant, and continue the practices that got us here – wearing masks and getting vaccinated – but the light at the end of this tunnel has never been brighter.”
The two-month advance notice should give people enough time to schedule their first dose, wait the recommended three to four weeks for a second shot and get through the two-week period for the vaccines to fully kick in, he said. It also gives businesses and others ample time to prepare.
Newsom’s speech comes a day after he announced California has the lowest COVID-19 positivity rate in the nation. Optimistic trends in California follow millions of vaccines – nearly 4 million, to be exact – administered to communities that have been hardest-hit by the pandemic. He added that California has administered at least 20 million vaccines.
The governor said last week in City Heights that the state expected to receive more vaccines this week to inoculate more Californians.
Eligibility expanded in California earlier this month to allow anyone age 50 or older to get their vaccine. On April 15, anyone age 16 or older will be able to get inoculated.