On June 15, all industries in California will be able to return to “usual operations,” according to an announcement by the office of California Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Department of Public Health.
The state, Governor Newsom said, would only fully reopen if two criteria are met:
- Equitable vaccine availability: If vaccine supply is sufficient for Californians 16 years or older who wish to be inoculated; and
- Consistently low burden of disease: Hospitalizations are stable and low, and specifically, hospitalizations among fully vaccinated individuals are low.
When the state reopens, “common-sense health measures,” such as masking will remain in effect, while “testing or vaccination verification requirements will remain in relevant settings.”
On the reopening plan, U.S. Travel Association president and CEO Roger Dow said, “The governor’s reopening plan is tremendous news for some of the hardest-hit areas of the economy, especially the conventions and large meetings sector that has been completely shut down for 14 months … Other states should follow this example of a science-driven reopening, especially as more and more Americans get vaccinated.”
Dow added, however: “We do have concerns about the new guidance’s mandate that international convention attendees be vaccinated. While the travel industry strongly encourages everyone to be vaccinated as the most effective path to a full economic reopening, a vaccination should not be a requirement to travel—and is unnecessary in this case because of the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s] current mandate that international visitors have a negative COVID test.
“On balance, California’s reopening guidance is a major step in the right direction that is a boon for the economy and guided by science.”
Los Angeles Eases Restrictions
In semi-related news, Los Angeles County announced earlier this week it has moved to a less restrictive tier of California’s “Blueprint for a Safer Economy;” this allows for the reopening of theme parks and bars, along with increased capacity for museums, zoos and aquariums, movie theaters, restaurants, outdoor sports and live performances.
Here’s what to expect:
Restaurants can raise indoor capacity to 50 percent or 200 people, and bars can now reopen outdoors with some modifications and will no longer be required to also serve food. Museums, along with zoos and aquariums, can now raise their indoor capacity from 25 to 50 percent, which is major, Los Angeles Tourism said, as the city’s museums were the only ones in the country closed for an entire year. Amusement parks can also reopen at up to 25 percent capacity, meaning the return of Six Flags Magic Mountain (April 3), Universal Studios Hollywood (April 16) and more.
California is allowing limited fan attendance for outdoor sports and live performances, with the cap set at 33 percent for counties in the orange tier (which includes Los Angeles). Capacity restrictions can also be lifted in movie theaters, and retail and grocery stores and libraries can operate at full capacity.
Indoor gyms and yoga studios can also increase capacity from 10 percent to 25 percent.