Does California’s June reopening plan signal a return to normal?

A waitress takes customers' orders along the sidewalk outside "Eat at Joes'' restaurant in Redondo Beach, California. Photo by REUTERS/Mike Blake

California is poised to reopen on June 15, but there are some caveats to the plan. It depends on having enough vaccines, as well as stable hospitalization rates and low numbers of new COVID cases. The statewide mask mandate will also stay in place for now. But is it a good idea? 

As long as residents are following CDC guidelines, and wearing masks and social distancing, the reopening could signal the start of a return to normal, says Dr. George Rutherford, a professor of epidemiology at the University of California, San Francisco.

“I think it fits within the structures we've set up for gradual reopening. I don't think it's taking any particularly large chances. And I think it gives everybody an idea of where the finish line is,” he says.

Rutherford adds that in order for California to reach herd immunity, adolescents will need to get vaccinated, as well as travelers who commute between the U.S. and Mexico. 

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