California to elevate most Covid restrictions June 15, preserve masks mandate

Joe Patwell, 77, of Los Angeles, right, takes to the Venice Beach boardwalk with others on a sunny Monday afternoon. Patwell said he received his first shot of the vaccine to protect against COVID-19 and will soon get his second shot.

Mel Melcon | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images

WASHINGTON – California plans to reopen its economy by June 15, as long as there are enough Covid-19 vaccinations for everyone who want them and hospital stays remain stable, Governor Gavin Newsom said Tuesday.

“With more than 20 million vaccines administered across the state, it is time to turn the page on our animal system and try to fully reopen the California economy,” Newsom said in a statement. “We can now start planning our post-pandemic life. We need to remain vigilant and continue the practices that brought us here – wearing masks and getting vaccinated – but the light at the end of this tunnel has never been brighter,” he said added.

Newsom’s announcement comes just over a year after California, the most populous state in the country, shut down its economy due to the spreading health pandemic.

The state is also due to end its four-tier, color-coded system that was used to determine the level of risk.

Over the past month, a number of states across the country have relaxed restrictions to varying degrees.

Texas has withdrawn its mask mandate and allowed companies to reopen 100% from March 10th. The Lone Star State also welcomed the nation’s first full-capacity sporting event in the Texas Rangers’ home opening game on Monday against the sold Toronto Blue Jays with more than 38,000 fans sitting side by side.

The Arizona governor also ended corporate capacity constraints and continued to recommend masks, but did not need them.

The Alabama governor said the state will lift its mask mandate after April 9. South Carolina lifted the state’s mask mandate in government buildings, but recommended that restaurants continue to require face coverings.

The latest revelation comes as federal health officials warn that Americans should continue to adhere to public health measures as the warmer summer months approach.

“You may remember a little over a year ago when we were looking for the summer to save ourselves from surges. It was actually the opposite,” said White House Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anthony Fauci, during a coronavirus briefing Monday.

“We saw some significant waves over the summer. I think we shouldn’t even think about relying on the weather to get rid of whatever we’re in right now,” he added.

Fauci also said Monday that Americans should continue to receive both doses of the Pfizer and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines, despite a recent study suggesting that only one dose might be enough.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also recommended that Americans continue to refrain from travel due to coronavirus cases across the country.

“We know we have a growing number of cases right now. I would speak out against general travel altogether,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky last week. “We do not currently recommend travel, especially for those who have not been vaccinated,” she added.

Correction: The Arizona governor continues to recommend masks for businesses, but does not require them. In an earlier version, the current state measures were incorrectly stated.

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