Central CA businesses hope for revival as state finally reopens today

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The state of California is ready to reopen Tuesday, taking a giant step forward after 15 months of pandemic restrictions and bringing dramatic changes to some areas and industries.

California is moving away from the non-pharmaceutical interventions designed to cut down on COVID spread.

The entire blueprint for a safer economy, the tier system, and almost all restrictions will officially go into retirement.

RELATED: Everything to know about California's June 15 reopening, from capacity limits to the mask mandate

"No more physical distancing requirements, no more caps on occupancy, moving beyond the blueprint, and aligning with the CDC on mask mandates," said Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Life will be as close to normal as it's been since March 2020.

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California is moving away from the non-pharmaceutical interventions designed to cut down on COVID spread.

The state is keeping in place restrictions on large events, especially indoors. Counties, cities, and individual businesses can keep restrictions in place.

But most everywhere will jump into a new era.

Fresno's Island Waterpark, for example, can increase the flow from 25% capacity in the orange tier to 100% with the tier system gone.


A good start to the summer is about to get a big boost.

"I'm so happy we're able to hire some people and get our staff back and that people are coming in and having a great time," said Bob Martin, the Island Waterpark general manager.

Amusement parks, movie theaters, gyms, bars, and wineries will all watch capacity restrictions disappear.

While state leaders discouraged most travel for the last 15 months, they're now encouraging it for people who are vaccinated.

Madera County lost 44% of its tourism revenue in 2020 - about $158 million.

But the businesses around Yosemite are hoping for a revival with reopening.

"What we hope happens tomorrow is that even more people will realize you can do things safely here and we can get back to having fun again in the outside and traveling again here in California," said Brooke Smith, director of public relations at Visit Yosemite, Madera County.

Office workers will have to wait a couple days to remove their masks, though.

Cal-OSHA will decide Thursday whether to allow vaccinated workers to take off their masks indoors.

RELATED: Gov. Newsom says vaccinated California workers won't have to wear masks after June 17

Gov. Newsom says he expects them to do it, and he'll sign an executive order to eliminate a waiting period and get it going right away.

The governor emphasized this isn't the end of the pandemic and restrictions could return.

But as long as no new variants pop up with vaccine resistance, public health officials aren't anticipating major problems.
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