As the number of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to drop around California, state health officials say most COVID-19 regulations will be lifted on June 15th, including all capacity restrictions and physical distancing requirements.
Dr. Mark Ghaly, California's Health and Human Services Secretary, said Friday the state will align its recommendations with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's guidelines while some travel restrictions may remain on countries who are still be heavily impacted by the coronavirus.
Additionally, operators of "mega-outdoor" events, such as festivals, are being asked to have a system in which they can verify people's vaccination status, or verify a negative test, or, in cases where attendees are neither vaccinated or tested, can attend the event if they wear a mask.
Ghaly also said there would not be a state-mandated or state-operated 'vaccine passport' system, however, businesses or venues are allowed to use such systems for verifications if they desire.
Vaccinations or negative COVID-19 tests will be required for people to attend large-scale indoor events with more than 5,000 people.
“We are requiring -- requiring, not recommending -- a vaccine verification/negative test, and there will not be an option to come in if you're neither of those and you can't verify that by just wearing a mask,'' he said.
Health officials will be providing guidance to venue operators and other business owners on how they can verify vaccinations or negative COVID-19 test.
While vaccinations have been popular with California residents with more than 35.5 million vaccine doses administered statewide, demand has dropped in recent weeks.
“We are now at a point, given our metrics that we've been watching, California is at a place where we can begin to talk about moving beyond the blueprint,'' Ghaly said.
According to Ghaly, moving "beyond the blueprint'' on June 15 means:
-- elimination of capacity restrictions;
-- elimination of physical distancing requirements for ``attendees, customers and guests at businesses'';
-- adherence to the CDC guidelines on mask-wearing, which currently allows vaccinated people to shed masks in most situations; and
-- aligning with CDC guidance on travel, meaning the state ``will have a travel advisory, but it will track with the CDC.''
“What we expect to see potentially is different parts of our globe that have severe outbreaks may have some restrictions and prohibitions on travelers coming into the country and we will follow those according to the CDC,'' Ghaly said. “But there will not be in the same way that we've had quarantines and isolation requirements for travel within the country.''
Ghaly said the average daily number of new hospital admissions is currently 260, below the state-set benchmark of 300.
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