Vaccinated Californians Prepare to Ditch Their Masks in Most Settings

Residents of Orange County—and the whole of California, for that matter—will awake to a less restrictive world June 15 when the state lifts most of its pandemic-related restrictions.

“I hate this phrase ‘reopening the economy’ because the economy has been doing fine. Just look at California’s tax receipts,” Andrew Noymer, a University of California–Irvine professor of population health and disease prevention, told City News Service.

“It’s about reopening social events. I think it’s totally appropriate right now based on epidemiology.”

Supervisor Lisa Bartlett said Orange County would abide by the state’s reopening guidelines, which vary depending on a person’s vaccination status. The fully-inoculated are permitted to shop in stores without masks, for example, while the non-vaccinated are expected to keep their faces covered under the guidelines.

Bartlett said she encouraged the public to hold itself accountable, but added it is not the county’s responsibility to enforce California’s vaccination policy.

“It’s up to private businesses to determine if they want to work on the honor system or if they want to have somebody show their vaccination status,” Bartlett told The Epoch Times. “That’s completely up to the private sector. That’s not government’s responsibility.”

California’s Beyond the Blueprint guidelines take effect June 15. As outlined in the document, residents can expect to see social distancing, capacity limits, and the county tier system diminish.

Vaccinated individuals will not be required to wear face covering in most indoor settings.

However, residents can expect some mask mandates to be in place at correctional facilities, homeless shelters, healthcare facilities, and indoor school settings. Masks will also be required for public travel. For large-scale indoor events such as concerts, vaccine verification or a negative COVID-19 test will be required. The measure is recommended for outdoor events.

Non-vaccinated residents will still be expected to wear masks while in indoor public settings, such as retail stores, restaurants, and entertainment centers.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said on June 14 that the coronavirus was still active and that masks would still be vital for the non-vaccinated.

“We’re not going to mandate passports, but businesses can require verification,” Newsom said in a statement. “We’re not where we all want to be, which is this pandemic completely extinguished.”

Despite the reopening efforts, Orange County is not at herd immunity. But with the help of mobile points of distribution, the county is getting closer, Bartlett said.

As of June 14, the state has administered more than 40 million vaccine doses.

Whether Orange County workers will be required to wear a mask in the workplace is to be determined by California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health on June 17.

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