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June 23, 2021

Newsom: California economy ‘fully reopening’ June 15

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday announced that the state is “setting our eyes on fully reopening by June 15—with commonsense measures like masking.”

Newsom made the announcement via Twitter, and reiterated the state’s plan to eventually forgo the current four-tiered, color-coded reopening system during an afternoon press conference in San Francisco.

“We’ll be moving past the dimmer switch, we’ll be getting rid of the blueprint as you know it today,” he said. “That’s on June 15, if we continue the good work.”

At the press conference, Newsom said California has administered 20 million vaccines, including roughly 2.5 million just last week. He said he expects 30 million Californians will have received at least their first shot by the end of the month thanks to increasing supply from the federal government.

In a press release, Newsom said the state would only fully reopen on June 15 if there is enough vaccine for all Californians 16 years and older who want to receive the shot, and if hospitalization rates are stable and low.

California currently has the lowest case rates of any state in the U.S. On Tuesday, state data showed that California’s positivity rate over the last seven days was down to 1.6%—a drastic fall from New Year’s Day when it hit a record high of 17.1%.

There were 1,376 new Covid-19 cases reported by the state Tuesday. There were also seven new deaths in which the disease was a contributing factor.

“Still prevalent, still deadly, still a challenge that we need to tackle, and that’s why we are mindful … of the imperative and importance of not letting your guard down,” Newsom said.

Santa Cruz County just last week moved to the orange tier of the reopening plan. Its positivity rate sat at 1.1% and its adjusted case rate was 3.4 new cases per 100,000 residents.

According to state data, roughly 170,000 vaccines have been administered to county residents.

County spokesman Jason Hoppin said the County Health Services Agency this week saw a slight bump in the number of vaccines it received from the state—about 7,400 were handed down from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH)—but that it has not “seen the floodgates open yet.”

“We still expect that to happen in mid-April, roughly in tandem with the expansion to all adults 16 and older,” he said.

In preparation for that expansion, Hoppin said, the county might eventually offer additional dates for its weekly mass vaccination clinic at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds. This week, the clinic will administer a record 1,300 doses.

“We think we can do more at the fairgrounds,” he said. “We’re looking at ways we can do more than one a week, whether that’s us or somebody else.”

According to a memo from the CDPH, when the state moves past the so-called “Blueprint for a Safer Economy,” all industries will be allowed to fully reopen with limited public health restrictions, including masking and Covid-19 testing.

Schools and colleges will be allowed to conduct full-time, in-person instruction, in compliance with Cal/OSHA emergency temporary standards and public health guidelines.

Employers will also be allowed to bring employees back to the office, so long as they promote policies that reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus, including improved indoor ventilation, and mask wearing in indoor and other high-risk settings. Remote work will still be encouraged.

Additional testing or vaccination verification will be required for large-scale, higher-risk events, according to the CDPH. The following restrictions will apply: 

  • Unless testing or vaccination status is verified for all attendees, conventions will be capped at 5,000 people until Oct. 1.
  • International convention attendees will only be allowed if fully vaccinated.
Tony Nuñez
Managing Editor Tony Nuñez is a longtime member of the Watsonville community who served as Sports Editor for five years before entering his current role in 2019. A Watsonville High, Cabrillo College and San Jose State University alumnus, he covers the city, business, housing, entertainment and more.

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