California will reopen the economy on Tuesday, June 15, removing most COVID restrictions, but there is still guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
What is changing:
● Physical distancing no longer required at businesses, and no indoor capacity limits for restaurants, bars, and retail.
● Indoor events with more than 5,000 people are required to verify that attendees are vaccinated or have tested negative within 72 hours of the event. This will remain until at least Oct. 1.
● Outdoor events with more than 10,000 people have the option of allowing unvaccinated and untested attendees if masked.
California will still follow CDC recommendations for masking. Vaccinated people will no longer need to wear masks in most settings but need to wear masks in airports, airplanes, buses, trains and stations. Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated people are required to wear masks in most settings outside the home where they are in close contact with other people.
Redlands Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Chris Alvarez said everyone is ready to reopen.
"The overall sense is people are excited about it and the community, in general, are ready for it," said Alvarez. "However, just because things reopen doesn't mean it will be easy. Restaurants lost a lot of jobs. They have a hard time finding employees to work again, and now California's starting wages have gone up. So businesses may have survived the pandemic, but they aren't all necessarily in a good place."
Alvarez said face mask requirements are still up in the air.
"On June 15, vaccinated people are no longer required to wear face marks," he said. "Businesses can require proof if they want, and my guess is a lot will follow CDC guidelines. It doesn't violate the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) to ask for proof of vaccination.
“The vibe I am getting just from talking to local owners and community members is most businesses will go on good faith and not require proof. Part of it is because the evidence seems to show vaccinated people are well protected. And there will come a time where we have to jump back into normal life.
"In terms of requirements for workers, the state's Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) standards are still requiring employees to wear masks," continued Alvarez. "So, if you go to a restaurant, most likely your server will wear a mask. But, Cal/OSHA is meeting soon to review standards and masking rules, so that may change. There is still a lot of unknown."
Alvarez said Redlands businesses fared much better than expected.
"From the Chamber of Commerce side of things, a lot of our members are still in business," he said. "We lost some members, of course, but from our numbers, all are pretty much still there. I don't think we've had too many closures. It wasn't bad as everyone expected, especially after the county, state and federal money became available. For businesses, that was a saving grace."
The Fox Event Center on Cajon Street, which has been shut down for most of its use, is one business that is ready to get back to normal.