California officials have announced the full details of the state’s reopening plan, set to take effect on June 15. The Friday news conference laid out plans for removing social distancing and capacity requirements throughout the state.
Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of health and human services, said capacity limitations are no longer part of the guidelines. Physical distancing will no longer be recommended after June 15. “We will continue to have some guidance on masking,” he said, that will align with CDC guidance on various settings and be regularly updated.
“I hope Californians respect those personal decisions” that some people will choose to continue wearing a mask in some settings, Ghaly said.
“We are not considering a vaccine passport,” he specified. However, the state is recommending, but not requiring, that mega-outdoor event venues with more than 10,000 attendees verify that patrons are vaccinated or provide negative tests. Non-vaccinated participants will need to wear a mask. For indoor venues of more than 5,000 people, the same recommendation to verify vaccination or negative COVID tests will be in effect.
Employers will continue to be subject to Cal Osha standards. “We will stay tuned” about changing guidance for workplaces, he said.
Dee Dee Myers, senior advisor to Newsom said the priority has been to reopen the economy.
“Back in April, we made all Californians eligible to be vaccinated and we knew we needed about eight weeks to have a complete immune response,” Ghaly said. Over 76% people of people over 65 have been vaccinated, he said, and California is one of the leading states in the nation in vaccinations.
The updated travel advisory will track with CDC regarding areas of the world with severe outbreaks.
Ghaly said the infection rate and hospitalization rates have met the metrics the state had set for reopening. “We feel we are tracking well toward meeting our goals,” he said.
Earlier this week, Gov. Gavin Newsom said he wanted to announce reopening details early so that businesses can prepare and that people “can really plan that future and see themselves in it.”
As the state moves toward fully opening its economy and shedding its four-color tiered system, Newsom and other state officials warned that life will not suddenly go back to normal.
“We can now begin planning for our lives post-pandemic,” Newsom said in a statement on April 6. “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.”
This abundance of caution was made clear on May 17 when State Director of Health and Human Services Dr. Mark Ghaly announced California would not implement the CDC’s newest guidelines until the economy reopening date, which said fully vaccinated people did not have to wear a mask in most situations.
California has been able to set its sights firm on June 15 with cases continually declining. When the goal date was first announced, the state cautioned the possibility of having to push it back should COVID-19 cases start to rise again. Over the last seven days, the rate of positive tests is at just 1%, compared to a 5.7% test positivity rate from this time last year and a 17.1% rate on Jan. 1.