California to remove capacity limits, social distancing on June 15; won't require vaccine passports

California will remove its social distancing requirements and allow businesses to operate at full capacity when the economy fully reopens its economy on June 15, California’s Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly announced Friday. Ghaly also said that the state will not require vaccine passports for traveling or businesses.

California health officials announced Friday that the state has met the health metrics for a complete reopening of the economy on June 15. Ghaly said that the declining number of coronavirus cases and the increase in the number of residents who have been vaccinated mean it’s safe for the state to remove nearly all restrictions next month. At which point, COVID-19 capacity limits on businesses will be lifted and mask rules will line up with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Currently, in California, face coverings are not required outdoors except at crowded events, and -- for unvaccinated people -- when physical distancing cannot be maintained. In indoor settings outside the home including businesses, public transportation and schools, face coverings continue to be required regardless of vaccination status.

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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control revised its guidance last week, saying fully vaccinated people can largely stop wearing a mask in most indoor and outdoor situations. That guidance does not automatically apply to individual states and local jurisdictions, however.

Though, even with the CDC’s updated guidance, individual businesses, states, and counties have the authority to set their own mandates should they choose to do so.

Dr. Ghaly also stated that vaccine passports will not be required in California. 

Vaccine passports are typically an app with a code that verifies whether someone has been vaccinated or recently tested negative for COVID-19. Officials say getting vaccinated and having proper documentation will smooth the way to travel, entertainment and other social gatherings in a post-pandemic world. They are in use in Israel and under development in parts of Europe, seen as a way to safely help rebuild the pandemic-devastated travel industry.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden's chief medical adviser, previously told FOX 11 that he does not believe the federal government will mandate the use of vaccine passports. However, similar to masks, individual businesses, states, and counties have the authority to set their own mandates.

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