California’s Virus Reopening Met with Cheers and Caution

Cable car bells clanged, Minions danced and restaurant patrons sipped their drinks indoors on a scorching day as California fully reopened its economy after 15 months of coronavirus restrictions.

From the wine country to Disneyland, restaurants and other businesses threw open their doors wide on Tuesday and many allowed fully vaccinated customers to throw away their masks as the state ended its color-coded COVID-19 restriction tiers amid a plunge in infections and rising vaccination rates.

California was the first state in the country to order a coronavirus lockdown in March 2020 and is among the last to fully reopen after battling a fall and winter COVID-19 surge that saw hundreds dying every day.

Newsom pointed to the more than 40 million doses of vaccine administered to more than 70% of the state’s adults and the resulting plunge in cases as the reason for the reopening. California currently has one of the nation’s lowest infection rates, below 1%.