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New State COVID Guidance Will Take Effect June 15

-Editorial

As California continues to improve after the COVID-19 pandemic, new guidelines will be activated on June 15 that will bring a sense of normalcy for citizens and businesses that have been affected since last year. 

The state will enter the “Beyond The Blueprint” phase in which restrictions will be eased now that cases are down and vaccinations are in full effect. As Imperial County Public Health Officer Dr. Stephen Munday said at the June 8th Imperial County Board of Supervisors meeting, new guidelines will take effect starting next week. 

There will be no green tier but a more ordinary route moving forward. 

“This will be more about guidance instead of being given state mandates,” Munday told the County Board of Supervisors. 

Munday said that vaccinated people can spend time with other fully vaccinated people, including indoors, without wearing masks or physical distancing (outside a workplace setting). People can time with unvaccinated people from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing.

It is recommended to refrain from wearing face coverings outdoors except when attending crowded outdoor events, such as live performances, parades, fairs, festivals, sports events, or other similar settings. 

The guidance says that all restrictions on capacity and physical distancing will be dropped for indoor and outdoor events unless they are considered ‘mega events’. Masking and traveling for these events are to follow previous CDC guidance.

Mega-events are events that have over 5,000 indoor attendees or 10,000 outdoor attendees. Under those circumstances, vaccine verification or a negative COVID-19 test will be required to attend those events.

The state said that these guidelines will be in place from June 15 to Oct. 1 and will be reevaluated on Sept. 1 to see if further changes to the guidance are necessary.

Citing accelerating vaccine efforts and 20 million doses administered to date, Governor Gavin Newsom said it was time to “return to a sense of normalcy” but also that it was important to not “spike the ball” too soon as factors such as virus variants, schools reopening, and more gatherings and events could result in a dreaded “fourth surge.”

“We’re interested in evidence…and we’re very sober about this,” said the Governor, when asked about possible hurdles in advance of the June 15 target date for lifting most coronavirus restrictions.  

Munday said that people are still strongly encouraged to wear masks, get vaccinated, and follow all guidelines to continue the state’s progress in reducing cases. The state has pledged to keep the statewide mask mandate, including for schools, in place even after June 15. Targeted testing and vaccination requirements will also remain for some businesses and industries, and counties retain the authority to impose stricter guidelines or orders to protect the public’s health.

Additionally, counties continue to play a key role in vaccinating all eligible people aged 16 and older and maintaining core contact tracing and outreach efforts – all of which are imperative to ensure containment of the virus.

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