politics

California Plans to Lift Most Covid Restrictions June 15, Keep Mask Mandate

Mel Melcon | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images
  • Newsom said on Tuesday that the state will reopen its economy by June 15 provided that coronavirus vaccine and hospitalization cases remain stable.
  • "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," Newsom said in a statement.
  • The state is also slated to end its four-tiered, color-coded system which has been used to determine risk levels.

WASHINGTON — California plans to reopen its economy by June 15 so long as there are enough Covid-19 vaccine shots for everyone who wants them and hospitalizations remain stable, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday.

"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 in a statement. "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," he added.

Newsom's announcement comes a little more than a year after California, the nation's most populous state, shut down its economy due to the unfolding health pandemic.

The state is also slated to end its four-tiered, color-coded system, which has been used to determine risk levels.

Last month, a slew of states across the nation relaxed restrictions to varying degrees.

Texas rolled back its mask mandate and allowed businesses to reopen at 100% capacity as of March 10. The Lone Star State also welcomed the nation's first full-capacity sporting event with the Texas Rangers' home opener Monday against the Toronto Blue Jays, which sold out with more than 38,000 fans sitting side by side.

Arizona's governor also ended capacity limits on businesses and continued to recommend masks, but didn't require them.

Alabama's governor said the state would lift its mask mandate after April 9. South Carolina lifted the state's mask mandate in government buildings but recommended that restaurants continue to require face coverings.

The latest revelation comes as federal health officials warn that Americans should still continue to adhere to public health measures as warmer summer months approach.

"You might remember a little bit more than a year ago when we were looking for the summer to rescue us from surges. It was, in fact, the opposite," the White House's chief medical advisor, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said during a coronavirus briefing Monday.

"We saw some substantial surges in the summer. I don't think we should even think about relying on the weather to bail us out of anything we're in right now," he added.

Fauci also said Monday that Americans should continue to get both doses of the Pfizer and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines, despite a recent study that suggests only one dose may be enough.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also recommended that Americans continue to hold off from traveling due to coronavirus cases nationwide.

"We know that right now we have a surging number of cases. I would advocate against general travel overall," CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said last week. "We are not recommending travel at this time, especially for unvaccinated individuals," she added.

Correction: Arizona's governor continues to recommend masks for businesses, but doesn't require them. An earlier version misstated the state's current measures.

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