The state of California will shed its COVID-19 restrictions in less than a month.
Citing improving infection and hospitalization rates and a growing acceptance of vaccinations, public health officials said Friday the state is ready to see its mitigations released with some exceptions for private organizations and large events.
“California’s at a place where we can begin talking about moving beyond the blueprint,” Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said.
Ghaly said 76% of residents age 65 or older had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The change includes removing the state’s capacity limits, social distancing requirements and other mitigations that defined the past year of fighting to slow the spread of COVID-19 and plagued business owners trying to stay afloat.
Businesses who prefer to keep a mask mandate may continue to do so and discriminate against customers who refuse to comply.
For what officials dub “mega-events” that plan to draw more than 10,000 people in one outdoor space or 5,000 in an indoor space, the state will recommend but not require a system of verification that attendees be vaccinated, receive a negative COVID-19 test or wear a mask.
Ghaly insisted California had no plans to implement any standardized certificate that would prove an individual is inoculated against COVID-19.
“California is not considering creating a vaccine passport at this time,” he said.
As for mask requirements, Ghaly said the state would comply with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines June 15. When asked why, since infection and hospitalization rates are low, the state can’t just immediately remove the mask requirement, he said the three-week window provides residents time to prepare for a life where the ubiquitous face coverings will no longer be required.
California was home to some of the nation’s most-stringent COVID-19 requirements. Gov. Gavin Newsom previously said the state was on track to ditch its color-coded restriction system by June 15.
This article was originally posted on California to fully reopen June 15