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The End of California’s Lockdowns

Wednesday: State officials said they planned to lift all pandemic restrictions except the mask mandate on June 15.

By Jill Cowan

(This article is part of the California Today newsletter. Sign up to get it delivered to your inbox.)

Good morning.

Today, we’re starting with some big news: There will be no green tier after all. In fact, very soon, we’re set to say goodbye to the purple, red, orange and yellow tiers that have for months dictated so much about our lives.

California plans to lift all its coronavirus restrictions on June 15, provided there are enough Covid-19 vaccines available for anyone age 16 or older and hospitalizations remain low and stable, state officials announced on Tuesday.

The move will allow Californians — regardless of which county they live in — to return to restaurants, bars, movie theaters, houses of worship and concerts without strict capacity limits for the first time in more than a year. President Biden has said there will be enough vaccines available for all adults in the country by the end of May.

[If you missed it, read about how experts graded California’s vaccine rollout so far.]

Other states have already eased health restrictions at a time when the Biden administration is pleading with them not to make those changes just yet.

The country is facing a possible fourth surge of the virus, and there are concerns about the spread of virus variants. Coronavirus case counts have been climbing in many states.

But in California, cases have been declining since hitting a peak early this year, with an average of around 2,700 new cases a day now, the lowest figure since June.

And according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of Monday, 34 percent of the state’s total population has received at least one vaccine shot, and 18 percent are fully vaccinated.

“With more than 20 million vaccines administered across the state, it is time to turn the page on our tier system and begin looking to fully reopen California’s economy,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement. “We can now begin planning for our lives post-pandemic.”

The state will, however, keep in place a mask mandate for the foreseeable future, and there will be some limits on large indoor events or conventions of more than 5,000 people at least until fall.

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