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Californians plan celebrations as most COVID-19 restrictions are scrapped

By
Don Jacobson
A health worker administers a COVID-19 vaccination to a local resident at the Long Beach Convention Center in Long Beach, California, on March 8, 2021. File photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI
A health worker administers a COVID-19 vaccination to a local resident at the Long Beach Convention Center in Long Beach, California, on March 8, 2021. File photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

June 14 (UPI) -- Californians on Monday were planning celebrations as health officials prepared to lift most of the state's COVID-19 restrictions, including all capacity limits and physical distancing restrictions.

In San Diego, county officials announced a "Back Together San Diego County" ceremony beginning at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday -- just hours after the long-awaited cancellation of most of California's pandemic restrictions.

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"On Tuesday, San Diego County's economy will fully reopen, along with the rest of California," county officials said in a statement issued to City News Service, declaring the occasion will mark the return of the "true spirit of our region."

In northern California, San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa said he is organizing a reopening party near a Bay Area Rapid Transit station just south of San Francisco.

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"This is a day to celebrate, we're going to honor firefighters, teachers and nurses," he told KABC-TV, after earlier tweeting, "On Tuesday, when the state reopens, I will be ready to ditch my damn mask!"

California Gov. Gavin Newsom hailed the progress the state has made in administering COVID-19 vaccines -- the total reached 40 million vaccinated during the weekend, with 72% of adults receiving at least one dose.

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"And on Tuesday we will fully reopen our economy," he tweeted. "It's been a long road, but our future is BRIGHT."

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Starting Tuesday, the vast majority of the state's pandemic-related restrictions will be superseded by a much shorter set of requirements issued by the California Department of Public Health.

Under the new rules, masks will mostly no longer be required for fully vaccinated residents, while all restrictions on indoor capacities will be lifted, along with all social distancing requirements.

The state's color-coded COVID-19 restriction system for counties will also be scrapped.

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However, restrictions will still apply to "mega events" with crowds of more than 5,000 for indoor events and 10,000 for outdoor events. For instance, at outdoor venues such as sports stadiums, the health department recommends that attendees who can't verify their fully-vaccinated status should be asked to wear masks.

California life in the COVID-19 pandemic

A pedestrian walks past a bar established in 1933 after Los Angeles County officials closed it for the second time following a spike in COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles on August 10. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

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