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San Diego County Prepares To Fully Reopen Tuesday As First Dose Vaccines Reach Goal (KPBS Midday Edition Segments)

Most COVID-19 restrictions throughout California will end Tuesday as the state retires its Blueprint for a Safer Economy tier system and lifts capacity and physical distancing restrictions for most businesses and activities.

Speaker 1: 00:00 Against the backdrop of widespread vaccination efforts and declining cases, California is reopening still. There are more than 600,000 COVID 19 deaths across the U S and the threat of variants remains. But in California, while COVID-19 guidance will stay in place for large scale events, most restrictions are now lifted KPBS health reporter. Matt Hoffman joins us with details on California’s reopening and continued efforts to fight the pandemic. Matt welcome. Hey Jade. So how is today different from yesterday generally? What are the rules for mask wearing right now? You know, and what situations can you go without a mask? Right. Uh,

Speaker 2: 00:41 Things are a lot different. I mean, the stay at home orders gone, social distancing measures are gone masking for vaccinated people. And when we talk about what are the mask wearing rules right now, you know, for these face coverings, um, basically if you’re vaccinated, most of it goes away. Now, there are some exceptions there that are for mass to people and unmasked people where, um, they have to wear those face coverings. And we’re talking about public transit, like going on an airplane, going on the trolley, um, indoors, when you’re out of school, you have to wear it. Um, hospitals, those are going to be areas where people are going to have to make sure that they have a mask with them. Now, if you’re unvaccinated, that’s where it gets a little bit tricky and the state’s kind of laid out some guidelines for businesses, you know?

Speaker 2: 01:20 Um, so if, if I’m unvaccinated, the state wants me to continue wearing a mask in public places. That’s like going to a restaurant, going to a gym, you know, going to a family fun center. Um, and for businesses, there’s a couple of different ways that they can sort of verify that, you know, first they could do self attestation. So that’s, Hey, have you been vaccinated? Yes, I have been. Okay. That’s good enough. Um, the second way is businesses can implement some sort of vaccine verification system. So, you know, you talk to your friends and they say, I have a photo of my vaccination card on my phone. Um, that could be one of those situations where before you go into a bar, they say, Hey, can we see a copy of your vaccination card? And the third way is businesses can simply say, Hey, we’re going to keep the masking requirement in place. Are

Speaker 1: 01:58 Restaurants and bars still limiting the numbers of guests in tables? Uh, you know, I mean, are they still social distancing in short? They

Speaker 2: 02:07 Don’t, they don’t have to. They, they, they can, if they want to, you know, some business owners are taking the opportunity of the sort of dimmer switch that the governor talks about. And plus you have all this outdoor seating as well, too. So it’s sort of up to what the restaurants want to do, but, you know, legally wise, those restrictions go away. What

Speaker 1: 02:23 About clerks and grocery stores? I mean, they can’t tell if someone is vaccinated or not. So how are the stores approaching this situation? Each store

Speaker 2: 02:31 Is going to have to kind of make up their mind a sort of where they want to go. And I don’t know if that’s going to mean, you know, having, uh, you know, they used to have greeters outside of stores. Some stores have eliminated that they might be bringing that back with that self attestation asking, Hey, have you been vaccinated or asking people, Hey, can you show us a copy or proof that you’ve been vaccinated?

Speaker 1: 02:49 It’s some confusion at Cal OSHA about mask mandates for workers. What happened and how was it resolved? It has

Speaker 2: 02:56 Not been resolved just yet. Cal OSHA is meeting in a couple days. And basically what that means is there’s going to be a couple week period where, uh, workers in California at the workplace are still going to have to mask up. And we know that the Cal OSHA board is meeting later this week to try to align, uh, the, these workplace mass guidelines with the CDC, with the state health authority. Uh, but there’s a little bit of a lag time there. And basically there’s a 10 day waiting period. So we’re talking not until the end of the month, if it gets past, you know, June 27th, June 28th. Now the governor, he does have executive authority and he said, he’s not shy about signing any executive orders that could speed up that process to try to align the dates more closely. So

Speaker 1: 03:34 Where do people absolutely have to wear a mask? So sort

Speaker 2: 03:38 Of some, some of the things I touched on earlier, so we’re talking about indoor settings for schools. We’re talking about public transit. Anytime you hop on a bus or a trolley, um, anytime you go into a hospital, these are going to be areas where masks are going to be required. And I imagine, especially in areas like hospitals and transit, that they’re really going to be checking people. So, uh, just a tip if you’re going out, you know, keep a mask in your, maybe in your wallet or in your purse, but what about airports? Yeah. Airports, they’re going to have to, it’s considered public transit. So they’re going to have to wear a mask. Hmm. Where are we

Speaker 1: 04:06 With vaccinations in San Diego county? Are we near herd immunity yet? Yeah, the, the devious

Speaker 2: 04:12 Herd immunity word, you know, some people say it’s 75% of people say seventies, we will say 80. Um, officials say at least for first doses that we have reached our herd immunity goal. So basically, um, you know, uh, of 12 and over 75% of that population has now gotten at least their first dose. And we know that there’s a little bit of a lag time between the first dose and the second dose. So here in San Diego county, you know, officials are celebrating, saying, we reached a very, very big milestone here, but we know, and the governor talked about this a little bit too, that he’s worried about, you know, other states and their lagging vaccination rates. And we did hear from state officials, um, you know, the state’s top doctor that we’re likely going to still see some outbreaks in, uh, communities where vaccination rates are low at

Speaker 1: 04:51 This point, where can someone who wants a vaccination get one? I mean, are the super sites still operating, right?

Speaker 2: 04:56 So those big super stations that have been around, you know, for months that can vaccinate, you know, up to 5,000 people a day, those are starting to wind down, but there’s still a lot of opportunities for people to get vaccinated. The county is doing a lot of mobile clinics where they’re setting up at like the airport and things like that. So people can just hop off the flight, get one, all the pharmacies are still offering. So, you know, CVS, Rite aid, Walgreens, you can still go in there and get your vaccination. Uh, but the big superstitions that a lot of people are accustomed to the one in Del Mar the one at the old Sears in Chula Vista, the one at the Grossmont center. And Lamesa, those are all going to be closing by the end of the month. And officials just put out deadlines. You know, the first one to be closing is going to be the Grossmont center one. That’s going to be closing this Friday. So if you have a second dose appointment there, you’re going to have to reschedule it.

Speaker 1: 05:38 There was some speculation that vaccinated people might eventually need a booster shot later. What’s the latest thinking about booster shots, right? So we know that drug

Speaker 2: 05:47 Makers say that they are developing booster shots that they’re ready to go. If they need to use them, you know, testing their effectiveness against the variance. That’s sort of a big question. There is the, and how long the immunity from getting a vaccine lasts. You know, every month officials are tracking that, um, I did have a chance to ask the state’s top doctor Dr. Galli with health and humans, human health and human services. If we’re going to need booster shots. And he sort of said, it’s a little bit too early, but he said, if the if, and when it’s needed, the state is ready to roll them out on a mass scale.

Speaker 1: 06:17 I’ve been speaking with KPBS health reporter, Matt Hoffman, Matt, thanks so much for joining us. Thanks Shane.