California plans to reopen its economy by June 15, Governor Gavin Newsom said Tuesday, as long as vaccine supply is sufficient for Californians 16 years and older and hospitalization rates are stable and low.
California will continue to require that masks be work in public settings and encourage all residents to get fully vaccinated, but everyday activities will be allowed to resume and businesses spanning all sectors can reopen.
The entire state will reopen as a whole, rather than taking the county-by-county approach that has been used for nearly a year. When California fully reopens the economy, it will end its four-tiered, color-coded system, which has been used to determine risk levels.
“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.
The travel industry applauded the news, which will allow restaurants, bars and gyms to open at full capacity after more than a year of restrictions. Events at stadiums and other large venues will be permitted, but conventions will be capped at 5,000 people until Oct. 1 as long as verification of vaccination can be provided.
“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,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow.
“It is fully possible to safely hold conventions and large meetings while observing prescribed health standards and practices, and California’s new guidance allowing such gatherings up to 5,000 people is in full agreement with current science and the CDC’s assessment that it is safe for vaccinated individuals to travel,” Dow continued, adding that there are 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 CDC’s current mandate that international visitors have a negative COVID test.
“We are encouraged that it appears conventions and trade shows will be back open for business in California beginning June 15," Barb Newton, president and CEO of the California Travel Association, said in a statement. “We look forward to learning more details from the administration and collaborating with them on a smooth and safe transition to re-open this critical sector of the state’s economy."