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California To Lift Most COVID-19 Workplace, Biz Restrictions By Mid-June




A sign asking people to wear a mask is displayed as moviegoers buy tickets at the AMC Burbank theatre on reopening day in Burbank, California, March 15, 2021.
A sign asking people to wear a mask is displayed as moviegoers buy tickets at the AMC Burbank theatre on reopening day in Burbank, California, March 15, 2021.
VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images

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California plans to lift most coronavirus restrictions on businesses and workplaces June 15, with officials saying enough people should be vaccinated by then to allow for life to almost get back to a pre-pandemic normal.

The mask mandate in the nation’s most populated state will stay in effect, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday, and he cautioned that California will reopen more widely in mid-June only if vaccine supply is sufficient and hospitalization rates stay stable and low. Still, the Democratic governor, who has overseen some of the most restrictive pandemic rules in the country, said it was time to forge ahead, with 20 million vaccines administered in California to date. The announcement signals an end date to more than a year of isolation after California resisted reopening too quickly even while other states pushed ahead.

“We can confidently say by June 15 that we can start to open up as business as usual, subject to ongoing mask-wearing and ongoing vigilance,” Newsom said. “So this is a big day.”

The announcement comes as states across the country have lifted health restrictions as more people get vaccinated. California had some of the nation’s strictest pandemic rules, becoming the first to institute a statewide stay-at-home order last spring and adopting a complex, color-coded tier system in August that dictated which businesses could open and at what capacity depending on how widespread the virus was in a county. Today on AirTalk, we talk with different stakeholders about the plans to lift restrictions and what this could look like in SoCal. Do you have questions or thoughts? Give us a call at 866-893-5722. 

With files from the Associated Press

Guests: 

Jot Condie, president & CEO of the California Restaurant Association, an advocacy organization for the restaurant industry 

Ying-Ying Goh, director of public health and health officer for the City of Pasadena

Maria Salinas, president and CEO of LA Area Chamber of Commerce; she tweets @salinas_ms

Kelly Colopy, director of the Health and Human Services Department for the city of Long Beach