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California mask mandates to be eased starting June 15

By Cade Costic and Jorge Aguila

Newsom speaks to reporters over California proposals. Photo courtesy: CA Governor’s Office Twitter

Last month, state health officials announced that June 15 was the target date for California to fully reopen. The state, amidst falling COVID-19 infection rates and low hospitalizations, is pausing its color-coded tier system that guides reopening by counties based on infection rates. 

Each county will still see its own personal restrictions and with weekly updates regarding COVID-19 restrictions, Los Angeles County is likely to be on the more restrictive side of these mandates. 

When asked what California would look like on June 15, Governor Gavin Newsom said we can expect to see the world like it was before the pandemic. Newsom went on to explain how this includes only requiring facial coverings in certain environments. 

“Only in those massively large settings where people [from] around the world, not just around the country, are convening and where people are mixing in real dense spaces,” Newsom said on May 12 in an interview with FOX LA. 

This is a large leap forward, as guidelines from not long ago were requiring people from other states to quarantine upon arrival to California. Now, they will be able to go about the state without a facial covering.

“We’ll make guidance, recommendations, but no mandates and no restrictions in businesses large and small,” Newsom stated. 

The Center of Disease Control updated their guidelines last month, stating that people do not need to wear masks if they are outdoors or only with members of their household regardless of their vaccination status. Per the CDC, fully vaccinated individuals are able to go a step further and go without masks at outdoor gatherings or restaurants, the guidelines stated. 

“I feel as if [Newsom’s] announcement is fitting. When you look at where we are at numbers-wise in California as a whole, we’re way down,” said a local nurse who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

“If the numbers stay where they’re at, and the rate of vaccinations keeps trending in the way that it is, we can go about our lives without masks and feel pretty confident about it from a nursing perspective.”

SCV resident Ryan Villiers, who fought for his life after being diagnosed with COVID-19 in March of 2020 feels as if it is time to move forward as California has done its part. 

“Foremost, I’m proud of California. After some early struggles, most people respected the importance of distancing and wearing a mask and I think [it] made all the difference,” he said.  

“Now, we’re one of the leading states in vaccinations and will likely be among the first to teach herd immunity.  So it’s not about how I feel, it’s about the science and the numbers telling us that responsible behavior by the majority of Californians is making it safer for everyone.  I do not feel it is too soon and have little concern for the safety of myself or my family from COVID. Honestly, I [just] worry for those holdouts who have not been vaccinated.” 

Californians only hope to remain steady with low cases, after a December 2020 which saw the highest COVID-19 cases in the entire United States. After a bounce-back year that included one of the highest vaccine rates of 49.7%, according to LA Times, with those Californians receiving at least one dose, things have begun to look up for the Golden State.

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