Calif. Will Lift Most COVID Restrictions on June 15, But Statewide Mask Mandate Will Remain

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Rich Pedroncelli/AP/Shutterstock California Gov. Gavin Newsom

California has set a date to roll back the majority of its COVID-19 restrictions.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday that the state aims to lift most pandemic restrictions by June 15 — including capacity limits and other specific reopening requirements for businesses — with the exception of the statewide mask mandate.

"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."

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The state's current reopening guidelines are tied to each county's metrics for COVID-19 vaccinations, hospitalizations, and daily case counts. As vaccinations increase and cases get lower, counties are able to individually loosen restrictions on businesses.

But Newsom said Tuesday that, come June 15, the entire state will to move into the more expansive reopening phase as a whole.

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Schools will be expected to resume in-person instruction, and non-essential workplaces can welcome employees back as long as they "promote policies that reduce risk."

Larger-scale events will also be permitted, though the state says that conventions will be capped at 5,000 attendees through Oct. 1, unless testing or vaccination is verified for all.

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In order for restrictions to lift on June 15, there must be sufficient vaccine supply for every Californian over 16 years old who wants one, and hospitalization rates from the coronavirus must be "stable and low."

"The state will monitor hospitalization rates, vaccine access and vaccine efficacy against variants, with the option to revisit the June 15 date if needed," according to the state.

Newsom previously announced that, beginning April 15, all California residents 16 and older will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. On April 1, the eligibility opened to everyone 50 and older.

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