LOS ANGELES — After over a year of pandemic restrictions and closures, California officially "reopened" Tuesday.
But while those who are fully vaccinated can go back to most activities unmasked, the unvaccinated still have to wear masks for indoor public spaces. In other situations, masks could still be required regardless of vaccination status.
What You Need To Know
- California officially "reopened" Tuesday, but some restrictions and mask requirements remain for the unvaccinated
- Masks are no longer required for vaccinated individuals both indoors and outdoors, except in certain cases where masks are required regardless of vaccination status
- Food service employees are still required to wear masks, but this could change as soon as Thursday
- Grand Central Market, along with many other establishments, are still navigating how changes will affect their operations
Grand Central Market has already been bustling since pandemic restrictions began to ease over recent weeks, but Alexis Augustine and her father Jesse will continue to keep their masks handy as California makes the transition.
“I think it's just gonna be really strange if large amounts of people are not wearing a mask, but I think that is what we're about to see,” Alexis said.
Alexis explained how wearing a mask had just become part of life, so the change in protocol seems strange to her at the moment.
“It feels really soon,” she said. “I don't know, it's strange to me that it’s happening. Personally, I'm still probably going to wear a mask.”
Jesse, who flew in from New Orleans for a visit, noted that traveling went smoothly and safely. But now that things are reopening, he feels people are still hyper aware of safety. He said he'll keep his mask on while at places like the Grand Central Market — at least until he sees how things go after Tuesday.
“The good part is that now people are awakened about germs and things that that can harm them, cleaning their hands, washing their hands and things like that,” Jesse said. “Sometimes, tragedy brings an awakening to people.”
Although some spaces and events will continue to require proof of vaccination, for the most part, places like Grand Central Market will operate on the honor system, and employees will continue to wear masks for a while longer.
Gov. Gavin Newsom stated that he could sign an executive order Thursday that would allow vaccinated workers to drop the mask requirement. Both Alexis and Jesse noted that keeping their masks handy for a while longer isn't a big issue for them.
“It doesn't bother me too much, that if I walk into an establishment and they ask to honor their feelings about being cautious,” said Jesse.
As the summer months approach, businesses are looking to bounce back economically, and part of that rests on consumer confidence in being out in public safely again.
“I'm honestly kind of OK with it,” said Alexis. “I'm really not pressed if somebody wants me to wear a mask. It's not that much of an inconvenience to me.”
Alexis has already planned a music festival for this fall and said she hopes ending the mask mandate does not spell another spike in COVID-19 numbers. So until then, she'll keep her mask close at hand.