SAN LUIS OBISPO — After over a year like none other, California officially retires its Blueprint for a Safer Economy tier system and begins to fully reopen. 

On Tuesday, Jun. 15, the state lifted all capacity and physical distancing restrictions for most businesses and activities. With this change, almost all sectors of the economy are able to return to pre-pandemic capacity limits. In most settings, according to the San Luis Obispo County Office of Public Health says that people who are fully vaccinated will no longer be required to wear face coverings. 

The County of San Luis Obispo will be referring to the State’s Public Health Officer Order and will not be issuing more restrictive local guidance. 

“While the pandemic is not fully behind us, today marks the start of a brighter new chapter for our community,” said Dr. Penny Borenstein, County Health Officer. “I thank everyone who has worked hard to slow the spread of disease and is rolling up their sleeves to get vaccinated. We can all play a role in ending the pandemic for good and ensuring COVID-19 never puts us through this again.” 

Getting through this together, Atascadero

At this time, face coverings continue to be required for everyone in some settings, such as public transit, indoor K-12 schools, and childcare settings. In addition healthcare settings, including long-term care facilities and detention centers, homeless shelters, emergency shelters, and cooling centers. 

Additionally, State guidance requires face coverings for those who have not been vaccinated (with exceptions for those who have a medical or mental health condition that prevents wearing a mask) in indoor public settings and businesses such as retail, theaters, and offices serving the public. 

State guidance specifies that businesses may allow patrons to self-attest they are in compliance, may request verification of vaccination or may require all patrons to wear face coverings. 

“I encourage everyone to respect and support each other and our businesses as we move forward into this new era together,” said Dr. Borenstein. “With vaccination and continued face-covering in certain settings, we can feel comfortable safely enjoying the opportunities that reopening allows.” 

San Luis Obispo County also announced that starting Tuesday, Jun. 15, due to declining case counts and the state reopening, COVID-19 statistics will be updated only once per week on Tuesdays going forward. 

As California moves Beyond the Blueprint, Governor Gavin Newsom welcomed the milestone at Universal Studios Hollywood, where he highlighted the attractions Californians can look forward to revisiting this summer.

“California is open again,” Newsom said as music played and confetti burst from on-stage cannons. “California has turned the page. Let us all celebrate this remarkable milestone.”

Gov. Newsom — who will face a recall election later this year — also used the backdrop to hold the state’s big-money vaccine drawing. By selecting 10 Californians to receive $1.5 million each – for a total of $15 million – as part of the final cash prize drawing in the state’s Vax for the Win program.

Newsome explained that starting Jun. 15, the restrictions that have been in place over the past year will be eliminated, including physical distancing, capacity limits, county tier systems, and masks in almost all settings for vaccinated Californians.

“Today, we celebrate the incredible strength and resilience of Californians – from our heroic health care workers to essential workers across the board to everyday Californians from all walks of life – who have supported each other through hardship and heartache over the past year, making sacrifices to save countless lives and enable us to turn the page on this pandemic,” Gov. Newsom said. 

The Governor is also continuing the wind-down of executive actions in place since March 2020 to help facilitate a coordinated response to the pandemic and ensure the state could quickly and efficiently respond to the impacts of the pandemic. A subset of provisions that facilitate the ongoing recovery – such as the provision allowing pharmacy technicians to administer vaccinations as the state continues to vaccinate millions of eligible Californians every week – will remain in place.

Newsom also established a timeline and process to continue winding down the various provisions of the 58 COVID-related executive orders, which suspended statutes and regulations to help the state and businesses continue operations during the pandemic. To ensure that impacted individuals and entities have time to prepare for the changes, the provisions will sunset in phases, beginning later this month, July, and September. 

For example, the suspension of certain licensing requirements for manufacturers to produce hand sanitizer will end on Jun. 30, as shortages are no longer a concern. By the end of September, nearly 90 percent of the executive actions taken since March 2020 will have been lifted.