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Regional Interests

Newsom to Reopen California’s Economy by June 15

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday announced California will allow all businesses to reopen at a full capacity starting June 15, as long as  two conditions are met.

“On June 15, we will be moving beyond the blueprint and will be getting rid of the color tiers, if we continue the good work,” Newsom said, during a press conference at the City College of San Francisco Ocean Campus vaccination site.

For that reopening plan to happen, Newsom said, the state has to have a large enough vaccine supply to accomodate all Californians 16 years or older who want one, and statewide hospitalizations must remain low and stable.

The color-tier system as it exists now limits the capacity of restaurants, businesses and places of worship. Currently, all Bay Area counties except for Sonoma, Napa, Solano and Contra Costa are in the orange, moderate tier, the third step in the tier system that allows many businesses to reopening, but with various restrictions. Contra Costa will move to that tier this week.

“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. We can now begin planning for our lives post-pandemic,” Newsom said in a statement released prior to the press conference.

However, the governor noted that California does not expect to receive a substantial increase in vaccine supply from the federal government leading up to the April 15 date when the state will expand eligibility to all those everyone 16 or older.

Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency, explained that once businesses are allowed to operate at a full capacity, there will still be some  “common-sense risk reduction measures,” including mandated masking and encouraging vaccinations.

The state will also continue to do contact tracing and testing. Most capacity limits will be lifted, although large-scale indoor events, such as conventions, will be allowed only with testing or vaccination verification requirements, Ghaly said.

As for the timeline to reopen schools across California, Newsom said by June 15 there will be “no barriers” to getting all students from kindergarten to 12th grade into schools safely for in-person learning as long as the supply and hospitalization conditions are met.

Newsom, however, said he does not have any intention of getting rid of the mask mandate in the foreseeable future.

Read the full story here.

—Carlos Cabrera-Lomeli and The Associated Press.

Copyright 2021 KQED