Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday said California is ready to fully reopen its economy by June 15 if vaccine and hospitalization numbers remain stable.
The governor made the announcement during a news conference in San Francisco.
California is set to surpass more than 20 million vaccine doses administered, including 4 million in the state’s hardest-hit communities, the governor's office said, and with hospitalizations continuing to steadily decline, Newsom said the next step in the COVID-19 pandemic recovery is moving beyond the state's Blueprint for a Safer Economy.
The two specific criteria for the state to fully reopen on June 15 are: vaccine supply must be sufficient for Californians ages 16 and older who wish to be inoculated; and hospitalization rates must remain stable and low.
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With the full reopening, everyday activities will be allowed and businesses can open with common-sense risk reduction measures, including encouraging all Californians to get vaccinated and mandating masking, the governor's office said.
The state will continue contact tracing and testing to detect cases early and contain spread of the virus. The state also will monitor hospitalization rates, vaccine access and vaccine efficacy against variants and could revise the June 15 target date if needed.
"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."
When California fully reopens the economy, the Blueprint for a Safer Economy will end, but common-sense health measures such as masking will remain across the state. Testing or vaccination verification requirements will remain in relevant settings, the state said.