Governor Gavin Newsom announced during a press conference on Tuesday that he plans to completely reopen California’s economy on June 15 — moving away from the current four-tier system in place.
“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.
As counties have moved throughout the tiers, California’s government will only reopen the state if enough residents over the age of 16 have been vaccinated and if hospitals keep a low, stable number of COVID-19 cases.
According to a press release from the governor’s office, everyday activities will be allowed and businesses will be able to reopen with risk reduction measures still in place, such as wearing a mask. To contain the spread of the virus, the state will continue contact tracing and testing to detect cases. The entire state will move into this new phase as a whole, the press release outlined.
“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,” Newsom said.
In a tweet, Newsom said 20 million vaccines have been administered throughout California, with over 40% of the state’s population over 16 years old receiving at least one dose.
Despite the large number of vaccinations, communities of color are still among the least vaccinated.
In Orange County, Latino residents make up 35% of the population but only 3.6% have been vaccinated, according to OC Health Care Agency statistics. Similarly, Black residents make up 1.6% of the county’s population while only 0.3% have received a vaccine, reported the agency.
Mark Ghaly, secretary of California’s health and human services, said that the likelihood of reopening the state will depend on the amount of people getting vaccinated, but the hospitalization rates as a whole will still be monitored closely by the state.
“We’re enjoying low hospitalizations across the state,” Ghaly said. “We’re going to keep a close eye not just on that hospitalization rate and number but actually understanding who’s in the hospital.”
In spite of the state reopening, the mask mandate will not be lifted and the state encourages its residents to get vaccinated.