After more than a year of restrictions, California is now less than one day away from fully reopening its economy. But many businesses, and residents, remain baffled by the state's shifting masks rules.
California imposed the first statewide shutdown in March 2020 and is among the last to fully reopen, though businesses have operated at reduced capacity for months.
Starting Tuesday, there will be no capacity limits or physical distancing requirements for businesses. Fully vaccinated people can stop wearing masks in most places.
But here's where the confusion arises.
Here's where you'll still have to wear a mask when California reopens on June 15
Businesses can still impose certain rules and require proof of vaccination, if they choose to do so. Masks will also still be required for the following settings, even if you're vaccinated:
- Any form of public transportation
- Hospitals and long-term care facilities
- Indoors at K-12 schools and childcare facilities
- Prisons and homeless shelters
- Indoor workplaces (except if everyone in the workplace is fully vaccinated)
At outdoor live events with more than 10,000 people, verification of fully vaccinated status or pre-entry negative test result will be strongly recommended for all attendees per state guidance, but not required. However, if you are not fully vaccinated nor have a pre-entry negative COVID-19 test, you will still be admitted to the event as long as you wear a mask.
California's statewide shutdown last year was an early model for how restrictions could keep the virus at bay but later became the U.S. epicenter of a deadly winter surge that overwhelmed hospitals in Los Angeles and other areas.
More people tested positive for the virus in California - about 3.8 million and counting - and more people died - 63,000-plus - than elsewhere in the country. However, the nation's most populous state had a lower per capita death rate than most others.
With return to sense of normalcy on June 15, Californians find themselves with mixed feelings
For the past couple months, the state has experienced the lowest - or some of the lowest - rates of infection in the U.S. Its vaccination level also is higher than most other states; two-thirds of those eligible have gotten at least one dose.
Gov. Gavin Newsom long ago set June 15 as the target to lift restrictions on capacity and distancing regulations for nearly all businesses and activities. But Newsom said he will not end the statewide declaration of emergency. That ensures the governor has the power to alter or suspend state laws in the future. That has angered Republican lawmakers who say the declaration is unnecessary.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.