The largest state in the country, and the first to close due to the emergence of the pandemic, today begins to end confinement.
The giant of the west coast of the United States, California, reached the bottom during the pandemic. In 15 months, the state accumulated more than 3.8 million confirmed cases of COVID * 19, added more than 63 thousand deaths as a result of the virus, and came to see its health system on the brink of collapse. The authorities established the most restrictive rules in the nation, keeping businesses closed for months, prohibiting visits to beaches, and asking the population to try to stay in their homes without moving. But those were other times.
Today, the state that is home to nearly 40 million people lifted almost all of its restrictions in hopes of a more prosperous future.
"It is a new day. But, unfortunately, the state is not destined to recover but to re-bloom. To return roaring louder than ever, "said Governor Gavin Newsom cheerfully at a press conference. And it is that for Newson, it is also the light at the end of the road on a personal level. The COVID 19 crisis in California resulted in an economic and political turmoil that led to millions of signatures gathering to call for the governor's resignation. Newsom will still face a special election to validate whether Californians want him to end his term. Still, he does so today with more political power than he did six months ago.
Until today the state had a color-coding system. Depending on the level of contagion in each neighborhood, a color was assigned to the area. Based on the color were the corresponding restrictions - closing hours, capacity within the shops, etc. -. Today, for the first time in months, no one will have to look at what color they live or work in.
The restaurants, after 15 months, can once again operate at their maximum capacity. Amusement parks, such as Disneyland and Universal Studios, may be fully open. And those who are vaccinated will no longer have to wear a mask covering their mouths and noses.
The key in California, as in the rest of the country, has been vaccination. The state has 55% of its residents fully vaccinated, and 66% have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
Some minor restrictions will remain in place for the time being. For example, those who are not vaccinated must wear masks to attend events inside buildings with more than 5,000 people. In addition, they will need to submit a negative COVID-19 test before they can enter. The protocol is the same for outdoor events in which more than 10,000 people gather.
But the big question now is how California will recover its economy. For example, to name just one devastating industry, a third of the state's restaurants closed permanently during the pandemic.
According to a state official, the key may lie in tourism. The Visit California office launched a campaign encouraging residents to vacation in the state, claiming that doing so is an act of patriotism in modern times.
"California is still perceived as a less open destination than others in the country, particularly compared to our friends in Florida. That is why we must work to show that California is ready to receive visitors," Caroline Beteta, President of Visit California, said at the same Newsom press conference.