Updated June 4th, 2021
Governor Gavin Newsom confirmed today that reopening the state’s economy does not require that he lift the statewide state of emergency he proclaimed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Lifting the state of emergency declared on March 4, 2020, is not a prerequisite for reopening the state’s economy. To lift most restrictions on economic activity, the Governor will end his Blueprint for a Safer Economy, the state policy established in 2020 to guide the state’s economic activity during the pandemic, as we discussed in our newsletter of May 21, below.
Businesses can reopen and vaccinated Californians will be able to get back to an almost normal life when the state lifts its restrictions on economic activity June 15.
State Public Health Officer and Director Tomás Aragón, M.D., Dr.P.H., issued guidance to “All Californians” on Friday, May 21, 2021, confirming that businesses will be allowed to resume normal operations on June 15 subject to “general public health recommendations” such as California’s recently updated Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards. Cal/OSHA’s new policies will eliminate state occupancy restrictions for most California businesses and largely defer to CDC guidelines for indoor masking requirements. Left unanswered for now are:
- Masking rules that will apply to employees, which are currently under consideration by the Cal/OSHA Standards Board, now expected to issue on June 3.
- Whether and how businesses may be required to enforce CDC indoor masking guidelines, for which masks are not required, but currently only for the unvaccinated.
- Whether the federal and/or state governments will approve and require a standard method for verifying a customer or client’s vaccination status.
- Whether local public health authorities will maintain stricter requirements than the state after June 15.
These changes mean Governor Newsom will end his Blueprint for a Safer Economy, the detailed policy he established in 2020 to guide the state’s economic activity during the pandemic, subject only to limited requirements for “mega events.”
Under the new state policy, effective June 15, any mega events—those with crowds of 5,000 (indoors) and 10,000 (outdoors), or more, attendees—will be subject to mandatory public health measures because they present a higher risk for COVID-19 transmission.
Attendees at indoor mega events will be subject to the general public health recommendations set forth in the All Californians advisory and are required to:
- Provide an acceptable verification of their fully vaccinated status or a pre-entry negative COVID-19 test result; and
- Adhere to state masking guidance during the event.
Outdoor mega event attendees also will be subject to the general public health recommendations set forth in the All Californians advisory and are to be asked to:
- Provide verification of their fully vaccinated status or a pre-entry negative test result; and
- Adhere to state masking requirements.
Venues hosting mega events are required to make masks available for all attendees. The venues are also asked to, among other things:
- Encourage anyone planning to attend a mega event to get vaccinated when eligible; and
- Facilitate increased ventilation of indoor spaces, consistent with state guidance.
The state intends to maintain the requirements and recommendations for negative test result/vaccination verification through October 1, 2021.