California reopens to joy, celebrations: ‘It’s one of the best days of my life’
California is back.
As of Tuesday morning, coronavirus-related capacity restrictions and physical distancing requirements were lifted at almost all businesses and other institutions. State residents who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 can now go without face masks in most nonwork situations.
The day comes after 15 months of fear, frustration, upheaval and misery and was made possible through collective sacrifice and scientific achievement — but only after the pandemic left a deep scar on the state’s collective psyche.
For tens of millions of Californians and countless businesses, the reopening signals new hope of brighter days as the shadow cast by COVID-19 shrinks.
While Tuesday may eventually take root in the wider public consciousness as the day California declared victory over the coronavirus, the toll the battle exacted remains staggering.
More than 3.77 million Californians — greater than the entire population of San Diego County — have tested positive for the virus at some point. And nearly 63,000 people, roughly equivalent to the population of the city of Encinitas, have died from COVID-19 statewide.
“Today is the day to celebrate the incredible journey we’ve been on over the course of the last 15 months,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday. “It is also a humbling moment … because it’s been a tough journey for tens of thousands of people that have lost their lives. And we’re mindful this disease is not taking today off; it’s not going to take the summer months off.”
June 15, 2021