California Gov. Gavin Newsom celebrated the full reopening of the state during a news conference on Tuesday at Universal Studios Hollywood, with Shrek and the Minions appearing to help herald his arrival.
“I want to thank everybody who worked so hard to work through the misinformation and politics,” Newsom said, emphasizing the state’s high 70% vaccination rate and current low COVID-19 case rate.
The announcement of the end of capacity and most mask requirements came alongside the reveal of the vaccine lottery’s 10 winners. The winners will receive $1.5 million each for a total of $15 million, with a number of other prizes also awarded.
Scott Evans of “Access Hollywood” joined the conference to name the winners and urge viewers to get vaccinated. The news conference came with a hefty dose of praise from speakers for Newsom’s economic and health policies as the governor faces a recall movement.
The reopening means the end of mandatory mask requirements for vaccinated patrons of California movie theaters, gyms, restaurants, stores and family entertainment centers. However, businesses may choose to retain mask requirements or opt to implement a vaccine verification system, but those verification systems have not yet been developed. “It’s the honor system,” Newsom admitted. “We’re not requiring passports.”
In addition, capacity restrictions are no longer in force at theaters, restaurants, conferences, meetings and other indoor events under 5,000 people. However, many theaters and restaurants are not immediately ready to reopen at full capacity and may take several weeks to ramp up capacity. Removing California’s capacity restrictions could give another lift to the post-pandemic box office, since the state has the largest amount of theaters in the U.S.
Unvaccinated people are still required to wear masks in most indoor settings. Both vaccinated and unvaccinated people must continue to wear masks on public transportation, in healthcare settings, schools, shelters and other congregate facilities.
The rules for workplaces fall under Cal/OSHA instead, which is expected to announce Thursday that vaccinated workers may remove their masks in indoor settings such as offices. However, changed COVID-19 requirements on film sets could be on a different timetable, since they will be determined by labor negotiations with the relevant guilds.