California, the first state to implement a lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, plans to fully reopen state activities and businesses as of June 15, based on declining infection rates and low admissions to the state, Mark Ghaly announced Tuesday.
Given the large number of Covid-19 vaccinations so far – which exceed 20 million doses today – the state will stop using the four-step system, called “Blueprint for a Safer Economy”, which has been in place since August last year. Ghaly cited a “stable and low burden of disease”
California reported the lowest positivity rate in the country at 1.7%, far from its peak of 17.1% in early January, when the state turned into a wave after the holidays.
The entire state reopens as a whole on June 15, instead of taking the county-to-county approach that has been used for a larger portion of a year to tighten and ease the restrictions.
State health officials will continue to use science and data to control the reopening, and variants will be closely monitored, Ghaly promised, adding that “necessary precautions” will be taken if there is any increase in Covid-19 admissions.
California’s mask mandate will remain in place, specifically focused on what Ghaly calls “high-risk” indoor settings. “Masking is an important protective feature that protects those who are not yet eligible for a vaccine,” Ghaly said.
California Vaccination Numbers: To date, California has administered over 7 million more vaccine doses than any other state, surpassing many other countries, including France and Germany, according to Ghaly. About 70% of older Californians have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and over 4 million doses have been administered in the most severely affected community in the state.
“We are looking at the supply and availability of vaccines. If delivery is not there, we may make some adjustments by June 15th. We need to make sure that all Californians who are interested in getting vaccinated and who are eligible have a reasonable period of time to get it, ”Ghaly said.
There is currently no plan to introduce or have a vaccine passport plan in California, but some companies are already exploring the possibility of verifying that their customers are vaccinated.
“Part of the idea is that we can run up safely, and that will also provide an incentive as people are allowed to perform more activities because they are vaccinated,” said state economic adviser Dee Dee Myers.
Some sectors, like major conventions with more than 5,000 people, have to demonstrate that all participants are either vaccinated or tested. This restriction remains in place until October 1st. Ghaly also spoke at the multi-day Coachella Music Festival, which draws thousands to the Southern California desert each year, noting that it may not reopen to the same size and scope, but state officials are working with organizers and event planners to ensure the safety of participants.
Since Covid-19 first began threatening the world, nearly 3.6 million Californians have been infected, and more than 58,000 have died as a result.