Gov. Newsom Announces State To Reopen June 15 With Some Restrictions; Mask Mandate Still In Place
Speaker 1: 00:00 With COVID vaccinations up and COVID case rates continuing to decline, California is preparing to eliminate the COVID tier system. Governor Newsome has announced that the standards that have ruled our lives and economy for months, that tears from purple to yellow will end in the middle Speaker 2: 00:19 June. We are announcing today that on June 15th, we will be moving beyond the blueprint and we'll be getting rid of the colored tears. Well, we're moving past the dimmer switch. We'll be getting rid of the blueprint as you know it today. That's on June 15th. If we continue the good work, Speaker 1: 00:40 The entire state will be reopened to business and everyday activities adhering to what's being called common sense measures. Joining me is KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman, Matt. Welcome. Hey Maureen. So does the elimination of tears mean the state is going back to pre pandemic normal? Speaker 3: 01:00 It sort of does, you know, state officials are re are referring to this as the post blueprint era in California. Now there will still be some restrictions. Now the governor and his staff are referring to this as a full reopening. Uh, but we did hear from health and human services, secretary Mark galley, uh, sort of nailing down this a little bit more, uh, he said things like conventions with 5,000 or more people will not be allowed to happen, uh, past June 15th. Now, if the, uh, organizers can prove that those people are vaccinated, maybe they can, and some big indoor, large events and outdoor events like Coachella, those will still be not allowed past the summer. Speaker 1: 01:34 Okay. So how does this affect how and where we need to wear masks and social distancing? Speaker 3: 01:40 Right? Yeah. Some States don't have massive mandates. California does. And governor Newsome says that they're going to keep it for the foreseeable future. Now we don't really know how long that's going to be in effect, but the governor says, you know, even post the summer when these restrictions are lifted, the mask mandate will still be in effect. Speaker 1: 01:55 Okay. So why did the governor say he's taking this step now? Speaker 3: 01:58 Wow, well basically he says hospitalizations are way down and, uh, vaccinations are way up, you know, more than 20 million doses have now been delivered in California. The governor says that beats out every state in the country. Obviously we do have a lot more people living in California, but he now says 41% of residents over the age of 16 have gotten at least one dose. So he says we're on a good path to getting toward herd immunity. And basically, you know, coming up April 15th, vaccinations open up to everyone, age 16 and older. And you know, between then, and this announcement is about eight weeks and state officials are thinking that's enough time, uh, to give everyone the opportunity who wants to get a vaccination to get one. So part of today's announcement, you know, we know it's still, you know, uh, more than a month away, but he wants businesses to be able to prepare for what's coming. Speaker 1: 02:42 Now, when the COVID tears are eliminated in June, what types of things will we be able to do that we can't do now? Speaker 3: 02:50 Wow. You know, uh, uh, Dr. Galley said, you know, we can go and visit our family again. Um, also, you know, a lot of restrictions are gone for capacity, you know, so that could mean we're back seeing, you know, full packed bars, packed sports venues, some of the much, much larger events like those, you know, music festivals that drop more than a hundred thousand people. Those are still on hold. But I think you're going to be seeing a return to, you know, pre pandemic normal obviously though mask wearing is still going to be something that's required. Speaker 1: 03:15 Okay. This was a big announcement today, but San Diego was just about to fall from the red to the orange tier this week. Is that still happening? Speaker 3: 03:26 Yeah, we actually did fall from the red to the orange tier. So that means now that restrictions are being used even more. And state officials basically said that they're going to keep updating the guidance as we go along here and, you know, the blueprint while it is going away in 10 weeks, it's, it's still here for, for 10 weeks. Um, and basically, you know, retail and malls capacity increases, uh, bars that don't serve food can open up outdoors gyms, you know, capacity can increase inside movie theaters. It was only 10% now that that can increase as well. And as we progress more through the tiers, that capacity will only increase more. Speaker 1: 03:57 Now other areas of the country, they are saying spikes in COVID cases. Is there concern that that could still happen here? Yes. Speaker 3: 04:06 State officials are obviously concerned that that, that that could happen, but they think that we've passed the point of having enough vaccinations also to going through this process, they're going to be monitoring a couple of metrics. You know, one basically vaccinations. They want to make sure that everybody who is interested in a vaccination can get one within two weeks of first having that, that, that thought of wanting to get vaccinated. Um, also they want to make sure that hospitalizations don't search, you know, that was something that, that was the whole point of these restrictions, right? Is to protect the hospital system, not overwhelm our healthcare system. That's something that they're still going to be focusing on. Um, obviously they're going to be monitoring, you know, if coronavirus patients are coming in, that's not as big of an issue if they have been vaccinated, but something they're going to continue to monitor. As we move through here, the governor kind of also said that it's sort of dependent on keeping these metrics low, the case count low, the hospitalizations low, um, to get to this point where we lift all the restrictions come summer. Speaker 1: 04:57 And what about the threat of the variants that we've been hearing? Speaker 3: 05:01 Right. Well, you know, the governor, he's sort of a Kansas to like a race, right? In terms of vaccinating people as quickly as they can, right? Cause for a variant to happen, there needs to be a mutation and mutation can only happen if the virus is spreading. So really they're trying to vaccinate as many people as they can, as quickly as they can. Obviously, knowing that those variants are out there. Speaker 1: 05:19 Did the governor talk about any road bumps that could maybe slow us down on our progress toward that June 15th date? Speaker 3: 05:28 Right. He did talk about vaccination supply, you know, getting a lot of questions from reporters asking, you know, when's the supply increasing? How much is the supply going to be increasing? Um, you know, saying that they are getting assurances from some of those drug makers, that those supplies are increasing, but they're gonna need to see that steady supply increasing. Obviously now, you know, when this announcement comes, a lot of people might hear in their head, you know, boom, California is reopened for business. Um, there might be a lot of people traveling in-state out-of-state um, so they're really gonna have to monitor to make sure, you know, we don't increase the threshold for hospitalizations, even though there's no specific number. And also Maureen something to keep in mind, two counties, they still have local control. You know, we're going to be hearing from our County officials later today and, you know, they might say, Hey, we're not ready. You know, come June 15 to move this fast. Speaker 1: 06:12 Okay then, well, thanks so much. I've been speaking with KPBS reporter, Matt Hoffman. Thank you, Matt. Thanks, Maureen.