SACRAMENTO, Calif. —
More than 15 months after California issued the first statewide shutdown in the country, state health leaders said with certainty Friday that the state’s economy will open June 15. That’s no longer a “tentative” reopening date.
In a media phone call, state health and human services secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly detailed which health guidelines will be lifted and which ones will remain in place.
“The big message today is, we’re at a place with this pandemic where those requirements of the past are no longer needed for the foreseeable future,” Ghaly explained to reporters. “We will be watching closely to determine if, and when, we need other public health protections to come back into place.”
Come June 15, the color-coded tier system will go away. Masking will be in line with CDC face-covering guidelines. California will no longer require social distancing and businesses will also be able to open at full capacity.
“When we saw the targeted date of June 15 we had our fingers crossed hoping that we’d make it to that,” said Mike Testa, Visit Sacramento president & CEO. “To find out today that that date is now set in stone is great.”
State health leaders said California arrived here based on a few key metrics: low COVID-19 case rates/a low statewide positivity rate, increasing vaccinations and a minimal threat of the state’s health care system being overwhelmed at this stage in the pandemic.
Ghaly said indoor event venues will be required by the state to ask attendees for vaccine or negative COVID-19 test result verification at events with more than 5,000 people. The state will recommend vendors for outdoor “mega” events (10,000 or more people) have a system to verify vaccination status/negative COVID-19 test.
The Sacramento area business community is ready for events, as we knew them pre-pandemic, to resume.
Visit Sacramento said consumer research shows people are more than willing to follow some guidelines if it means events can resume.
“I think all of us are just ready to have events and are willing to jump through those hoops to make those things happen,” Testa said. “We’re hearing from the consumer as well, ‘I’ll do whatever it takes. I’ll wear a mask. I’ll show you my vaccination card as long as I can get into the event.'”
Visit Sacramento said reopening officially happening June 15 comes at a good time with numerous outdoor and indoor events planned for the region in the weeks and months ahead.
“The idea of going somewhere and experiencing something outdoors… listening to live music… drinking a beer straight from the restaurant, I think that appeals to a lot of people,” Testa said.
When it comes to travel, Ghaly said when the state reopens, its travel recommendations will track with CDC guidance.
There won’t be quarantine and isolation requirements for travel within the country, but for different parts of the world with severe outbreaks, there will likely be restrictions on those travelers coming into the country, Ghaly said.