California’s Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Mark Ghaly said on Tuesday that the state is on track to drop the longstanding tier restrictions that have limited capacity at businesses.
“On June 15, the color-coded tier system…will no longer be in place,” said Ghaly. More specifically, he added, “Certain things like capacity limits will no longer be in place in California cities.”
Dr. Ghaly’s boss, Governor Gavin Newsom, promised in early April that the state would be getting rid of the tier system. “We’ll be opening up on June 15, this economy…business as usual,” said Newsom. But beyond those broad strokes, the governor and his HHS secretary have not been very specific about what the state would look like after June 15.
Newsom has hinted that his Blueprint for a Safer Economy, which contains the color-coded tier framework, would go away. Dr. Ghaly confirmed that on Tuesday. “We believe that — here in May — that we’re on track to meet that goal.”
The two main measures the state continues to look at are that vaccine supply is sufficient for Californians 16 years or older who wish to be inoculated and that hospitalization numbers are stable and low, and specifically, hospitalizations among fully vaccinated individuals are low.
The state looks good on both measures. California is awash in vaccine and the state’s numbers on Tuesday for cases, deaths, hospitalizations and test positivity rate in the state were the lowest they have been in over a year.
If the state continues on track, capacity restrictions on movie theaters, concert venues and theme parks will be eliminated, though some may require attendees to show proof of vaccination.
From the state’s Beyond the Blueprint page:
All sectors listed in the current Blueprint Activities and Business Tiers Chart may return to usual operations in compliance with ETS/Cal OSHA and other statewide agency guidelines and standards with limited public health restrictions, such as masking, testing, and testing or vaccination verification requirements for large-scale higher-risk events.
The state’s mask mandate, however, will remain.
“We still see masking as a key protective feature,” said Ghaly in April, noting that there is “no timeline for ending the mask requirement.”
“It’s the most powerful non-pharmaceutical intervention we can have,” affirmed Newsom.