San Diego County Fully Reopens Tuesday As First Dose Vaccines Reach Goal
Most COVID-19 restrictions throughout California ended Tuesday as the state retired its Blueprint for a Safer Economy tier system and lifted capacity and physical distancing restrictions for most businesses and activities.
San Diego leaders marked the reopening with an early-morning party and ribbon cutting ceremony outside the county administration building.
The event included live music, games, free breakfast snacks and coffee.
Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said he’s happy for the return to more normal interactions.
“We’re ready to come back together as a community, we're ready to rebuild, renew and we're ready to enjoy one another,” Fletcher said. “One of the most beautiful things about this morning is just seeing folks mingling, smiling, enjoying one another’s company.”
Certain COVID-19 guidance will continue to be in place for large-scale event settings. Organizers of the so-called mega events with more than 5,000 people indoors or more than 10,000 outdoors will need to take extra steps to ensure the safety of attendees.
People attending mega events indoors will be required to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test before arriving at the venue.
Organizers of outdoor mega events will be strongly encouraged to implement the same safety protocols, though they will not be required to do so.
Another event took place Tuesday, a wreath laying ceremony outside of San Diego City Hall. It’s a reminder that more than 62,000 Californians have died from COVID-19.
Data from John Hopkins said the nationwide death toll has now passed 600,000 and just over 44% of Americans are now fully vaccinated.
Supervisor Nora Vargas said she’s proud of vaccination efforts in some of San Diego’s hardest hit communities.
“Over 80 percent, 80 percent of south county folks who are eligible have two vaccines now,” Vargas said.
Fletcher’s looking forward to the rebound of San Diego’s economy.
“Our small businesses adapted and struggled, and opened and closed — but they kept fighting. And now they are in a position to truly roar back, all of our businesses out there,” he said.
Face covering mandates will remain in effect after Tuesday in nine settings — on public transit, indoors in kindergarten through 12th-grade schools and child care settings, in health care settings, long term care facilities, detention centers, homeless shelters, emergency shelters and cooling centers.
The state guidance will remain in place until at least Oct. 1.
"The end of the state's framework will allow us to go back to many of the activities we have not been able to enjoy since last March, but the pandemic does not end tomorrow," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, county public health officer.
"COVID-19 is still present in our community and we all need to continue to do our part to protect the most vulnerable and avoid spreading the virus."
San Diego County public health officials reported 46 new COVID-19 cases Monday, increasing the cumulative total to 281,313. No new deaths were reported Monday. The death toll remains at 3,770.
Meanwhile, first-dose vaccinations reached a county-set goal of inoculating 75% of the eligible population on Monday.
As of Monday, a total of 2,207,447 people had received one of two doses of vaccines, over the goal of vaccinating 2,101,936 people 12 and older, based on 75% of April's population estimate for that age group.
Fully vaccinated residents numbered 1,749,978 — 83.3% of that goal. The number of people vaccinated with one dose and those fully vaccinated represent 75.2% and 62.4%, respectively, of all residents 12 and older eligible for vaccines.
The county set the 75% goal to attempt to reach community herd immunity.
More than 4.22 million doses have been received by the county, with more than 3.89 million administered.
A full list of available vaccination sites can be found online.
Of 5,591 tests reported by the county on Monday, 0.8% returned positive. The 14-day rolling average percentage of positive cases is 0.8%.
A free "Back Together San Diego County" celebration of the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions in California will begin at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday at the County Administration Center, 1600 Pacific Hwy.
The celebration will include live music, free breakfast snacks and refreshments and a ribbon-cutting ceremony to re-open the administration center to the public.