California on track to reopen by mid-June as Covid eases

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More than 60 percent of Californians -- including Governor Gavin Newsom -- have had at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine

California is on track to remove nearly all pandemic restrictions by June 15, with no mandatory capacity restrictions or social distancing requirements for those who have been vaccinated, health officials said Friday.

The most populous US state suffered a severe winter Covid-19 outbreak, but now has among the nation's lowest infection rates per capita, in part due to its vaccination program.

Some 35.5 million doses have been administered. More than 60 percent of residents have had at least one dose, and just under half (48 percent) are fully inoculated.

"California is at a place where we can begin to talk about moving beyond the blueprint" of tiered health restrictions, said health secretary Mark Ghaly.

The state will make vaccinations or negative tests mandatory for all major indoor events, but will not operate a "vaccine passport" scheme, he added.

Major outdoor events -- with over 10,000 people -- will be allowed to permit those without vaccinations or recent negative tests to attend if they keep their masks on, although private venues are free to create their own restrictions.

Officials had previously set a June 15 target for reopening, dependent on achieving goals in terms of vaccinations and Covid infection rates.

Covid-related hospitalizations are now at their lowest level "since the very early months and weeks of the pandemic," Ghaly added.

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