After 15 months of restrictions on how residents work, eat, socialize and otherwise gather, the state is finally shedding most of the measures enacted to stem the spread of COVID-19.
But the regulations from federal, state and local authorities have at times conflicted and changed as this significant date draws near.
Here’s what we know about June 15 and how the new rules will affect residents who live and work in Long Beach.
One of the biggest areas of confusion has centered on masks and whether people still need to wear them.
Long Beach issued guidance on Thursday affirming that it is aligning with state and federal health authorities.
Fully vaccinated people do not need to wear a facial covering except in certain settings:
- Hospitals and medical facilities
- Public transportation (airplanes, buses, taxis, etc.)
- Indoor K-12 schools
- Childcare and other youth settings
- Congregate living settings (such as homeless shelters and detention facilities)
Facial coverings remain required for unvaccinated individuals in indoor public settings and businesses, including restaurants, retail establishments and entertainment centers.
You may want to keep your mask handy even if you’re vaccinated, however, as individual businesses may set mask rules if they chose.
And businesses may differ in how they approach verifying whether people who patronize or attend events have been vaccinated.
Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of the California Health and Human Services agency, conceded this week that “self-attestation”—essentially an honor system—is not perfect.
“Of course all systems of verification are fraught with challenges,” he said, adding that state officials determined “people’s sense of being able to protect their own information” and the ability to “operate a business in a certain way” were important goals.
“And then business owners do have a choice,” he said. “… Some business owners very well may decide that the honor system … is not sufficient, and they’re going to require all patrons to their business to wear masks.”
Large indoor gatherings
For indoor gatherings that include more than 5,000 people—such as conventions, concerts, festivals—the following requirements are in place:
- Verification of fully vaccinated status or a pre-entry negative COVID-19 test is required of all attendees.
- Information is required to be prominently placed on all communications and ticketing systems to ensure guests are aware of vaccination requirements.
Large outdoor gatherings
For outdoor gatherings with more than 10,000 people—such as music or food festivals, car shows, large endurance events, marathons, parades, sporting events and concerts—the following requirements are in place:
- Verification of fully vaccinated status or pre-entry negative test result is strongly recommended for all attendees.
- Attendees who do not verify vaccination status should be asked to wear face coverings.
- Information is required to be prominently placed on all communications, including the reservation and ticketing systems, to ensure guests are aware that the state strongly recommends that they be fully vaccinated, obtain a negative COVID-19 test prior to attending the event or wear a face covering.
Guidance for employers is still in flux.
The state regulatory commission that sets safety rules for employers voted in a policy on June 3, but rescinded that policy on June 9. The commission is expected to vote again on June 17, with any rules taking effect on June 28.
As of now, a strict policy adopted in November remains in place for employers and workplaces: Employees are still required to wear face coverings and socially distance while at work regardless of whether they’ve been vaccinated.
Aside from restrictions on very large indoor and outdoor events, all COVID-19-related capacity limits on businesses including fitness centers and gyms, restaurants, bars, recreation facilities, retail stores and public facilities will be lifted on Tuesday, June 15.
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced in April that if infection rates of the coronavirus remained low, the economy would largely reopen and the state would do away with its “Blueprint for a Safer Economy,” which established color-coded tiers that restricted activity based on a particular county’s infection rates.