Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday a plan to fully reopen California’s economy by June 15 — if vaccine and hospitalization numbers remain stable.
The move would eliminate the state’s four-tiered system, allowing the entire state to reopen at the same time and “everyday activities” to resume, though the state could revise the June 15 target date if needed.
The full reopening is expected to be contingent on two conditions: vaccine supply must be sufficient for Californians 16 and older who wish to be inoculated and hospitalizations must remain “stable and low,” while exact figures on these conditions were not given.
“With more than 20 million vaccines administered across the state, it is time to turn the page on our tier system and begin looking to fully reopen California’s economy,” Newsom said in a prepared statement. “We can now begin planning for our lives post-pandemic. We will need to remain vigilant and continue the practices that got us here – wearing masks and getting vaccinated – but the light at the end of this tunnel has never been brighter.”
This comes as the state announced Tuesday it had administered 4 million COVID-19 vaccine doses in the state’s hardest-hit communities, again triggering a change in the thresholds for counties to move from tier to tier.
Under the new metric system, counties in the orange tier, like Los Angeles County, can move to the least restrictive, “yellow” tier when their 7-day average adjusted case rate drops to less than 2 new cases per 100,000 residents per day, which is adjusted depending on the county’s testing volume, as well as a 7-day average test positivity rate of less than 2%.
“We do anticipate that our metrics will not change significantly this week or next week, based on the case numbers we’ve been reporting,” L.A. County Department of Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said.
L.A. County would need to meet the yellow tier metrics and remain in the orange tier for at least three weeks before moving, which would mean the county could enter yellow by early May.
The move comes as more than half of states across the nation have reported rising COVID-19 cases over a seven-day period, which Ferrer said can be attributed to new variants and reopenings.
While vaccination efforts have continued, Ferrer cautioned that the county must remain vigilant, as often the East Coast a few weeks before the West Coast.
More than 20 million Californians have been vaccinated, while L.A. County has administered 4 million doses as of March 27.