Move Would Do Away with Tiered Business Restrictions Spurred by Pandemic
By Lou Hirsh CoStar News
April 6, 2021 | 3:49 P.M.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom plans to fully reopen the biggest U.S. state economy on June 15 with some precautions as officials seek to recover from more than a year of business disruptions created by the pandemic.
The move would effectively end current health-related enforcement under the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy, which includes a four-tiered, color-coded system controlling the degree to which businesses in various sectors can reopen.
“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,” Newsom said in a statement Tuesday.
California was the first state to issue a stay-at-home order at the onset of the pandemic in March 2020 and the hardest hit by infections and hospitalizations in its largest cities at the peak of the pandemic. It spurred some of the nation's most stringent and long-lasting business restrictions pegged toward tackling the health crisis.
The move toward lifting those restrictions comes as businesses including restaurants, hotels and theme parks along with others dependent on the state’s normally strong tourism and corporate business travel sectors have been clamoring for a let-up in operating restrictions in recent weeks as vaccines have ramped up and coronavirus infection and hospitalization rates have stabilized.
Newsom said the switchover is contingent on vaccine supply being sufficient for Californians 16 and older to be inoculated, and on the state’s coronavirus hospitalization rates remaining stable and low.
“We can now begin planning for our lives post-pandemic,” Newsom said. “We will need to remain vigilant, and continue the practices that got us here — wearing masks and getting vaccinated — but the light at the end of this tunnel has never been brighter.”
Convention centers and other big-crowd venues welcomed the news of California’s pending lightening of restrictions, which could help bring some certainty for corporate executives planning conventions and meetings in the Golden State.
Details on the pending “Beyond the Blueprint” stage on the website of the California Department of Public Health show that large-scale indoor events, such as conventions, are allowed to occur with testing or vaccination verification requirements.
“We are encouraged that it appears conventions and trade shows will be back open for business in California beginning June 15,” said Barb Newton, CEO of the Sacramento-based California Travel Association trade group in a statement. “We look forward to learning more details from the administration and collaborating with them on a smooth and safe transition to re-open this critical sector of the state’s economy.”
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