California plans to lift most coronavirus restrictions on businesses and workplaces June 15, with officials saying enough people should be vaccinated by then to allow for life to almost get back to a pre-pandemic normal.
The mask mandate in the nation's most populated state will remain in effect, Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly said Tuesday, and he cautioned that California will reopen more widely in mid-June only if vaccine supply remains sufficient and hospitalisation rates remain stable and low.
This means the end to our color-coded tiers. We can go to movies to the beach and see family, he said.
The announcement comes as states across the country have lifted health restrictions as more people get vaccinated. California had some of the nation's strictest pandemic rules, becoming the first to institute a statewide stay-at-home order last spring.
Vaccine eligibility will expand to people in California 16 and older starting April 15, although some counties have already started vaccinating young adults.
The two-month advance notice should give people enough time to schedule their first dose, wait the recommended three to four weeks for a second shot and get through the two-week period for the vaccines to fully kick in, he said. It also gives businesses and others ample time to prepare.
Ghaly said most capacity limits will be lifted although large-scale indoor events, such as conventions, will be allowed to occur only with testing or vaccination verification requirements.
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