the coronavirus crisis
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) says the time has come to start "planning for our lives post-pandemic."
Newsom announced Tuesday that California is aiming to fully reopen its economy on June 15, the Los Angeles Times reports. The plan is to at that point lift most of the state's COVID-19 restrictions and stop using the current system that divides counties into tiers based on factors like number of new cases, according to The Associated Press.
Two criteria will have to be met by June 15 for this to happen, officials said: the state having sufficient vaccine supply for all adults and its COVID-19 hospitalization rates being stable and low.
"With more than 20 million vaccines administered across the state, it is time to turn the page on our tier system and begin looking to fully reopen California's economy," Newsom said. "We can now begin planning for our lives post-pandemic. 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."
California's mask mandate is expected to remain in place. But business will be permitted to "return to usual operations" with "common-sense public health policies in place, such as required masking, testing and with vaccinations encouraged," officials said.
In a news conference, Newsom hailed this as a "big day" for the state, though he warned that California being able to "open up as business as usual" by June 15 is still "subject to ongoing mask-wearing and ongoing vigilance." California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly also cautioned that "we will take the necessary precautions" should the state see any "concerning rise in our hospitalizations," per the Los Angeles Times. But Ghaly added that "right now, we are hopeful in what we're seeing."