Calif. Gov. Newsom unveils plan to 'reopen' on June 15

San Diego about the San Diego's newest pop-up vaccination site in the City Heights neighborhood. (Nelvin C. Cepeda  The San Diego Union-Tribun

San Diego about the San Diego's newest pop-up vaccination site in the City Heights neighborhood. (Nelvin C. Cepeda The San Diego Union-Tribun

In a statement, Newsom said, "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".

State data shows that California is nearing a new threshold for reopening - 4 million doses doled out in socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods.

"We are seeing bright light at the end of the tunnel", Newsom said at a press conference.

Those who get sick after vaccination, he noted, seem to have less-severe illness and are less likely to end up in a hospital bed. Ghaly also addressed the multi-day Coachella music festival that draws thousands to the Southern California desert annually, noting that it may not be able to reopen at the same size and scope, but state officials are working with organizers and event planners to ensure the safety of all participants. "We will be moving past the dimmer switch", Newsom stated.

Vaccine eligibility will expand to people in California 16 and older starting April 15, although some counties have already started vaccinating young adults. "We can now begin planning for our lives post-pandemic". The state will continue contact tracing and testing. "The state will monitor hospitalization rates, vaccine access and vaccine efficacy against variants, with the option to revisit the June 15 date if needed".

"With all of that, we are at the stage where we're ready to consider the next aspect of our pandemic response", California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said.

COVID-19 vaccination appointments
He has consistently refused to push for more drastic lockdowns used in other countries, calling such tactics "authoritarian". After you register, you will be given a confirmation number, which you will need to book your actual appointment .

Gov. Gavin Newsom also struck a positive tone in the announcement Tuesday, but cautioned that residents still had to remain cautious. The majority of the state's population - 80% - is now at a moderate-risk level, allowing for some indoor business to operate with modifications.

"The Blueprint as it's devised now will no longer be in effect as of June 15", Ghaly said, referring to the state's Blueprint for a Safer Economy website and color-tiering system.

The mask mandate will remain in place, but businesses and other venues will be allowed to reopen without occupancy limits.

Unless testing or vaccination status is verified for all attendees, conventions will be capped at 5,000 people until October 1, and worldwide convention attendees will only be allowed if fully vaccinated.

Schools and institutions of higher education should conduct full-time, in-person instruction in compliance with state and federal health guidelines, the memo added. Although he stopped short of saying they would be required to do so.

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