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Vaccinated Californians will be able to walk without masks in closed shops, bars, restaurants, cinemas and more as part of a grand opening next Tuesday, officials said.
New rules must comply with federal regulations, which means face masks will continue to be required on public transport, taxis, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters. According to plans announced on Wednesday, masks will also be required in the enclosed spaces of K-12 schools, day care centers and other places where there may be large numbers of children who have not been vaccinated.
Unvaccinated people will continue to obey indoor mask wearing regulations, although the state, like during the pandemic, maintains an easy link to law enforcement and does not require business operators to check if visitors are vaccinated.
The move to facemasks for the vaccinated coincides with a long-awaited lifting of restrictions on remaining business opportunities in California, where life is at least partially blocked for about 15 months.
In March 2020, the state embarked on a massive, unprecedented experiment to control the spread of the newly emerging virus. All 40 million Californians were ordered to stay at home as much as possible.
Since then, Californians have experienced some of the most horrific coronavirus outbreaks in the country – including the winter, when hospitals across vast swaths of the state were overwhelmed – and experienced a roller coaster of lockdowns and reopenings as the number of cases of the virus increased and decreased.
The impact of business bans helped fuel effort to remember Governor Gavin Newsom. In November he apologized for visiting a restaurant with non-household guests in violation of health restrictions that he encouraged others to follow.
Now residents are returning to a life free from complex rules, amid constant fears that the state’s progress in the fight against the virus could be reversed again.
As of Wednesday, roughly 54 percent of Californians have been fully vaccinated and 12 percent have received one dose of the vaccine. according to government data… Dr. Mark Ghali, California’s secretary of health and human services, said while state officials are working to vaccinate as many California residents as possible, they are confident Tuesday’s reopening will be safe.
“We are tracking well,” he said.
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