California has become the first state in America that has put in place a coronavirus lockdown and is now turning a page on the pandemic.
California is lifting most of its Covid-19 restrictions at the stroke of midnight and has been ushering in what has been billed as the ‘Grand Reopening’ of the state.
Starting on Tuesday, there is going to be no more state rules on social distancing and there will be no more limits on the capacity at bars, restaurants, gyms, supermarkets, stadiums, or anywhere else. Masks have been one of the most symbolic and fraught symbols of the pandemic. It will no longer be mandated for vaccinated people in most settings through counties and businesses can still require them.
California wants to send the message just in time for summer that life in the Golden State is getting much closer to normal. The economy is fully reopening for the first time in about 15 months and people can return to their pre-pandemic lifestyles. Fans can also cheer mask-less at Giants and Dodgers games. Disneyland will be throwing its doors open for all the tourists after just allowing the residents of California. People can also pack indoor bars and nightclubs from the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles to the Castro in San Francisco.
Governor Gavin Newsom has said on the eve of the reopening that with due respect, eat your heart out and the state is not only poised to recover but is poised to come roaring back.
Newsom will make a few lucky residents millionaires mark the reopening. In a made-for-TV main event, the governor is going to draw 10 names of residents who have received at least one vaccine dose and award each one with $ 1.5 million. The drawing is going to be the grand finale to the largest vaccine incentive of the nation with $ 116 million in a Covid-19 vaccine lottery.
The officials also want the tourists back too.
The President and CEO of Visit California, Caroline Beteta has said that in terms of their incredible cities and their iconic attractions, the industry is ready to roll out the red carpet to visitors in California, around the nation, and even the world.
The lows and highs in the pandemic saw California go from being a success story to the US epicenter of the virus. The state is the first in the country to impose a state-wide shutdown in March 2020. The business of California is just starting to reopen last June when the cases have started rising and the state was ordered to close again.
A dark reality set by the end of summer in California as the state hurtled towards a deadly winter surge. Curfews, shutdowns, and harrowing images from overwhelmed hospitals have become the norm as the state set new records every day for staggering death tolls and infection rates as more and more people tested positive.