LOS ANGELES - California will fully reopen its economy on June 15 if two criteria are met, Governor Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday.
He said the economy would reopen if vaccine supply is sufficient for Californians 16 years and older who wish to get vaccinated; and if hospitalization rates are stable and low.
"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. We can now begin planning for our lives post-pandemic," Newsom said. "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."
Should California reach those two requirements, Newsom said that everyday activities will be allowed and businesses can open with common-sense risk reduction measures, including encouraging all Californians to get vaccinated and mandating masking, to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The governor said that the state will continue contact tracing and testing to detect cases early and contain the spread of the virus.
The entire state would move into the new phase as a whole on June 15, and state officials would continue to monitor hospitalization rates, vaccine access and vaccine efficacy against variants, with the option to revisit the June 15 date if needed.
"California has made incredible progress controlling the spread of COVID-19 by staying home, masking, and getting vaccines out quickly to Californians in every corner of the state, including in those communities hardest hit by this pandemic," said California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly. "In order to take the next step, we must continue to do our part to keep this momentum moving in the right direction, and that means continuing to wear a mask and ensuring everyone who is eligible gets the vaccine."
Newsom said that when California fully reopens the economy, the state's "Blueprint for a Safer Economy," which has guided when specific counties could reopen select business sectors, will end.
When California reaches that threshold, large-scale indoor events, such as conventions, will be allowed to occur with testing or vaccination verification requirements.
As of Tuesday, California has administered nearly 20 million vaccine doses, with more than 4 million doses being administered in some of the state’s hardest-hit communities, just 23 days after delivering 2 million doses to these communities.
Newsom announced on Monday that California now has the lowest positivity rate in the country. He didn't provide a comparison but as of Tuesday, the state's positivity rate was 1.6%.
California plans to expand vaccine eligibility on April 15 to all residents over the age of 16.