California schools and businesses should be able to fully reopen at their pre-pandemic capacities starting June 15, regardless of which of the state’s color-coded tiers are currently in place in their county, officials said Tuesday, April 6.

Everyone is still encouraged to get vaccinated against COVID-19, and the state’s mask mandate will remain in place. State health officials announced the news in a media briefing Tuesday morning, citing “consistently low and improving metrics” such as the number of new COVID-19 cases and people hospitalized with the disease, and recent vaccination milestones.

Statewide, the average daily rate of COVID-19 cases has plunged sharply since a winter spike hit its peak around the first week of January, from more than 112 cases per 100,000 residents then to just 5 per 100,000 as of Monday, state data shows. The number of people hospitalized with the disease also has dropped significantly since abut mid-January.

More than 20 million doses of vaccine have been administered, with more than 7.5 million of the state’s nearly 40 million residents fully vaccinated and almost 6 million more having received one of two needed doses.

If concerns arise – such as rapid spread of new virus variants or significant hopsitalizations among already vaccinated people – the state could put the brakes on reopening, state Health and Human Services Secretary Dr.  Mark Ghaly said in the briefing.

But if current progress continues, the shift planned for June 15 “really means that everyday activities will be allowed and businesses can open with common-sense risk reduction measures,” Ghaly said.

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“We can go to movies, to the beach and see family.”

The state’s announcement will mean theaters and performing arts groups, sporting events and other such organizations and venues can begin to plan for reopening with few restrictions. But the immediate future of very large gatherings is still a bit hazy.

Ghaly said for now, events with more than 5,000 people are prohibited unless organizers get proof that everyone in attendance has been vaccinated or has a recent negative COVID-19 test.

Full capacity at convention centers or events such as the Coachella music festival “won’t be recognized without some requirement for testing or vaccines,” Ghaly said.

He added, “We don’t yet have the path for those to occur at the same size and scope that they have traditionally,” but state health officialls continue to work with industry representatives.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.


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Source:: Los Angeles Daily News


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