SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California’s top health official, Dr. Mark Ghaly, laid out what the state will look like after June 15, the day state leaders plan to lift most remaining COVID-19 restrictions.
In a call with reporters Friday, Ghaly said California has met its goals for vaccination rates and infection case rates, paving the way for the following changes by mid-June:
- No more capacity limits for businesses and other public spaces
- No more physical distancing rules
- No more mask mandate for vaccinated people in most situations, with state guidance mirroring the CDC’s as it evolves
- No significant travel restrictions, with state guidance mirroring any international travel advisories from the CDC about hot spots around the globe
Ghaly also laid out guidelines for large “mega events” such as concerts, festivals and sporting events.
For major outdoor events of more than 10,000 people, the state will recommend — but not require — a system for organizers to verify that attendees have either been vaccinated or have received a negative COVID-19 test before arriving. Short of that verification, the state advises events allow guests to wear a mask while attending instead.
For indoor events of more than 5,000 people, the state will require a system for organizers to verify that attendees have either been vaccinated or have received a negative COVID-19 test before arriving. The state will not allow an option for attendees to wear masks while attending.
Officials also said that California is not currently exploring a state “vaccine passport” system, under which people with a pass showing their vaccinated status would be allowed exclusive entry to certain places. Such a system, while already in use in parts of the world, has proven controversial. The state health department appears prepared to move on without one in place for California.
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Asked if the entrance guidelines for “mega events” amount to a passport system by a different name, Ghaly pointed out that the option to self-attest to a negative COVID-19 test remains an option for unvaccinated people who want to participate.
The state health department plans to work with large event venues to smooth out the process for entrance verifications, and will share a more detailed set of rules in the weeks to come, Ghaly said.