California aims to reopen fully on June 15
California is planning to lift almost all coronavirus restrictions and fully open its economy on June 15, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said Tuesday.
Newsom said he anticipates “an abundance” of vaccines from the federal government through the rest of April and into May and expects that more than 30 million people will have received at least one shot by the end of this month.
The governor said 20 million people had been vaccinated as of Tuesday, and the state had met his goal of delivering 4 million shots to the hardest-hit, most vulnerable communities.
“We can confidently say by June 15, we can open up for business as usual,” Newsom said at a press conference. “We’ll be getting rid of the colored tiers, we’ll be getting rid of the blueprint as you know it today, if we continue the good work.”
The state has been under a color-coded blueprint of restrictions for 31 weeks.
In a statement, Newsom and health officials said “all sectors” may return to normal operations “in compliance with Cal/OSHA requirements and with common-sense public health policies in place, such as required masking, testing and with vaccinations encouraged. Large-scale indoor events, such as conventions, will be allowed to occur with testing or vaccination verification requirements.”
The entire state will move into the new phase as a whole, officials said. The state will monitor hospitalization rates, vaccine access and vaccine efficacy against variants, with the option to revisit the June 15 date if needed.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 18 percent of Californians are fully vaccinated, and about 34 percent have received at least one dose.
Newsom also said he expects every student to return to in-person learning by June 15.
“We anticipate there will be no barrier to getting our kids back” in schools by that date, he said, adding that while it is currently only an expectation, the state may take further action to force the issue.
The announcement comes more than a year after Newsom first issued a stay-at-home order and ordered the shutdown of nonessential businesses, becoming the first governor in the country to do so.
He said he is keeping the state’s mask mandate, and has no plans to remove it in the near future.
Setting a definitive reopening date could also help Newsom in his recall election set for this fall.
The governor has come under fire both for reopening too quickly last summer and fall, and also for keeping the state under too many restrictions.