California can return to ‘usual operations’ from June 15, according to an announcement by Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Department of Public Health.
All industries will be able to resume operations while adapting “common-sense health measures” like masking while ““testing or vaccination verification requirements will remain in relevant settings.”
The state’s re-opening is dependant on two criteria being met:
- Equitable vaccine availability: If vaccine supply is sufficient for Californians 16 years or older who wish to be inoculated; and
- Consistently low burden of disease: Hospitalisations are stable and low, and specifically, hospitalisations among fully vaccinated individuals are low.
The news was greeted enthusiastically by U.S. Travel Association president and CEO Roger Dow, who said: “The governor’s reopening plan is tremendous news for some of the hardest-hit areas of the economy, especially the conventions and large meetings sector that has been completely shut down for 14 months [and] other states should follow this example of a science-driven reopening, especially as more and more Americans get vaccinated.”
The reopening order also mandated that conventions be capped at 5,000 attendees until October 1 without proof of vaccination or a negative test, but all international attendees must be vaccinated.
On this, Dow said: “We do have concerns about the new guidance’s mandate that international convention attendees be vaccinated. While the travel industry strongly encourages everyone to be vaccinated as the most effective path to a full economic reopening, a vaccination should not be a requirement to travel—and is unnecessary in this case because of the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s] current mandate that international visitors have a negative COVID test.
“On balance, California’s reopening guidance is a major step in the right direction that is a boon for the economy and guided by science.”
California was one of the hardest-hit states by Covid, with 3.69 million positive cases that resulted in 59,949 deaths to date. Just under half of all deaths occurred in Los Angeles County.