So long, colored-coded tiers, algebraic capacity limits and bars that have to masquerade as restaurants to stay open: Come June 15, California is dropping most of the pandemic restrictions that we’ve all become familiar with over the past year.
The state said last month that it was aiming to fully reopen on June 15, and after an announcement on Friday we now know exactly what that’ll entail: no capacity limits for businesses, no physical distancing requirements and, in most cases, no more masks for fully vaccinated people.
There will, however, be some guidelines in place for “mega events,” things like music festivals, conventions, sporting events and arena-sized concerts.
For indoor events with more than 5,000 people (think: arenas, convention centers, but not theaters, which are way smaller), all attendees will be required to either be fully vaccinated or have proof of a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of the event.
But here’s the thing: While California encourages venues to mandate that you show proof of either your vaccination status or a negative test result, it also says that businesses can opt for “self-attestation” during the purchase or entry process—meaning you might just have to check a box that says you’re vaxxed and that’s it. So sure, “required.” This system will remain in place through October 1; on September 1, the state will decide if the requirements should stay in place beyond then.
The state also says to refer to its latest masking guidance for these massive indoor events. Come June 15, California will begin to follow the CDC’s new masking guidance, which allows fully vaccinated people to go maskless in most scenarios, with the exception of public transportation. Until the state’s new CDC-aligned rules are actually posted, though, we can only guess that vaccinated attendees can likely go maskless while unvaccinated ones will still need to wear them.
For outdoor events with more than 10,000 attendees (think: Hollywood Bowl, Dodger Stadium), being fully vaccinated or having a negative test result is downgraded from “required” to “strongly recommended.” If you’re not vaccinated, it’s also recommended that you wear a mask (and venues will be required to supply them), otherwise the state again points to its still-to-come masking rules.
Outside of that, the state encourages all Californians to get vaccinated when eligible, for venues to spruce up their ventilation and for attendees to download the CA Notify exposure notification app. And while Los Angeles County could technically impose stricter rules, Public Health says it will align with the state’s plans.