California to Fully Reopen on June 15, if COVID Remains Low

  • California Governor Gavin Newsom said on Tuesday that the state will fully reopen on June 15, provided there are enough vaccines to meet supply and hospitalizations remain low

  • San Francisco, which has vaccinated 50% residents over 16 with at least one dose, could advance to the yellow tier next week. California plans to ditch the color-coded system in June if conditions for reopening are met

  • California's mask mandate will remain in place for the foreseeable future

  • Newsom said that he expects "no barriers" to schools resuming in-person instruction by June, but stopped short of mandating school reopening

If all continues to go well with the state's vaccine rollout, California will be back to "business as usual" in June, Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Tuesday.


California plans to lift restrictions on businesses and other activities, and abandon the color-coded county risk classifications that have guided those restrictions, on June 15 as long as there is sufficient vaccine supply to meet demand and hospitalizations remain low. A mask mandate will remain in place for the foreseeable future.


Newsom didn't give a specific figure on hospitalization rates, but was optimistic that vaccinations would outpace the COVID variants circulating in the state that could trigger new waves of infection.


"By the end of this calendar month...we will have administered 30 million doses," said Newsom at a press conference in San Francisco. "We have confidence that the numbers [or vaccine doses] will continue to tier up." California has about 32 million people who will be eligible for the vaccine on April 15, at which point vaccinations will open up to anyone over the age of 16.


In San Francisco, 387,620 residents, or 50% of the population over 16, had received at least one dose as of Tuesday. If current trends continue, the City could further relax restrictions very soon, said Mayor London Breed.


"Fingers crossed, Governor, we'll be in the yellow tier next week and will be headed home very soon," said Breed. San Francisco is administering about 12,000 doses per day, and 20 people are hospitalized with COVID currently.


In keeping with the state's vaccine equity goals, Newsom said that California has administered 4 million doses to residents in higher-risk, priority zip codes. With that threshold met, state is relaxing guidelines for color-coded county risk classifications once that happens, and will ditch them entirely by June, Newsom said. San Francisco entered the orange tier on March 24, and counties must remain in a tier for at least three weeks before advancing to a less restrictive tier.


Asked whether schools will reopen by the expected June 15 reopening date, Newsom said that there will be "no barrier" at that point for schools to resume in-person instruction, but stopped short of specifically mandating that they reopen by that time.


"There’s an expectation across the board [that in-person instruction will resume] and we continue to work with the legislature…on furthering that expectation," said Newsom. "You will be hearing more about our efforts."

Image by Jake Buonemani
Image by Rasmus Gundorff Sæderup
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