After more than a year of carrying masks and navigating revolving rules that at times required eating outdoors, exercising in gym parking lots and looking at store clerks through plastic barriers, most of the state’s COVID-19 restrictions will officially end today.
What you need to know first, however: Don’t toss your stash of face coverings just yet.
Though mask-wearing is no longer being legislated by the state in most cases, businesses can still enact their own rules—and uncertainty remains for employees at workplaces.
The state regulatory board for workplace safety has another meeting scheduled on Thursday to consider revising its conflicting rules for workers. The governor, however, said on Friday: “I expect and am determined to see a favorable outcome when they convene.”
The current rules require all workers, vaccinated or not, to don a mask and physically distance. But Gov. Gavin Newsom expects the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board, which he appoints, to align with the state and Centers for Disease Control on this issue: Vaccinated people can go without masks, except in locations like classrooms and mass transit where they are required for everyone, or in the event of outbreaks.
Otherwise, the general public does not need to wear masks except if businesses require it, and in hospitals, public transit, indoor K-12 schools, childcare settings and congregate-living settings.
Another big change today: Capacity limits will be eliminated for all types of businesses, including bars. Social distancing requirements will also be eliminated—again, unless a specific business keeps these rules in place or enacts other safety measures.
The city of Long Beach, which has its own health department, is aligning with all of the state’s rules.
Long Beach on Monday reported just nine new cases of coronavirus over the weekend, and a dozen people hospitalized in the five medical facilities that serve the city. At the peak of the pandemic in late December and January, the city was reporting more than 600 new cases per day, and a high of 581 people in local hospitals on Jan. 12.
A total of 942 residents have died since the pandemic began in March 2020.
As of today, the city said it would no longer be sending out daily updates on COVID-19 metrics, but those numbers are still available on a public dashboard.
City officials, including Mayor Robert Garcia and Kelly Colopy, health director for the city, are expected to hold an in-person press conference later today about the June 15 milestone.