California to loosen coronavirus restrictions next month

California to loosen coronavirus restrictions next month

California will be loosening coronavirus restrictions for businesses next month, officials announced Friday.

Starting June 15, businesses will be allowed to return to usual operations with no capacity limits or physical distancing guidelines, the California Department of Public Health said.

An exception will be made for "mega events" — those with large crowds of more than 5,000 indoors and 10,000 outdoors — because they are considered higher risk for COVID-19.

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For indoor mega events, verification of vaccination status or a pre-entry negative COVID-19 test will be required of all attendees.

Such proof will also be recommended for outdoor mega events, and attendees who are not vaccinated will be advised to wear face coverings. 

June 15 is also the day California plans to lift its mask mandate, adopting guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) saying people who are fully vaccinated should feel comfortable not wearing masks or practicing social distancing.

Officials said Monday that delaying the implementation of the CDC’s guidance would give the public time to prepare for the change.

Vaccinated residents do not have to wear masks outdoors, but unvaccinated individuals are required to do so. Meanwhile, all individuals are still required to wear masks indoors.

California was the first state to impose a stay-at-home order on all 40 million of its residents in March 2020 to stem the spread of the disease.

The Golden State later became a hot spot for the virus amid the surge that occurred late last year. The state has gradually eased restrictions as infections, hospitalizations and deaths decline, Reuters noted.

California has seen more than 3.6 million cases since the pandemic began and 61,722 deaths, according to state data.

According to a tracker from the Los Angeles Times, 52.3 percent of the state’s population has received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, among which 41 percent are fully vaccinated.