FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) — Come June 15, California will see some big changes in COVID-19 restrictions.
On Friday, the state’s top health officials said social distancing will no longer be required at businesses, allowing them to open at full capacity.
They are still recommending that outdoor events with more than 10,000 people require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test for attendees, and those without verification should be encouraged to wear masks.
Domestic travel restrictions will also ease up.
“Different parts of our globe that have severe outbreaks may have some restrictions and prohibitions on travelers coming into the country, and we will follow those according to the CDC, but there will not be in the same way that we’ve had quarantine and isolation requirements for travel within the country,” said California Health & Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly.
For many restaurants, which have had to adapt to changing COVID-19 restrictions during the pandemic, the shift back to full capacity comes with some hurdles, like staffing shortages.
“We may have seats for everybody, but we don’t have the staff to provide proper hospitality. So I’d rather turn somebody away so they can come back later than have somebody come in and actually not be able to give them the service they need, and then complain that there’s bad service,” said Chuck Van Fleet, President of the California Restaurant Association Fresno Chapter.
He predicts that local restaurants likely won’t return to pre-COVID staffing numbers until at least September.
While diners are allowed to take off their masks, California restaurants are still awaiting a decision on the rules for employees.
Earlier this month, Cal/OSHA proposed changes to workplace safety rules, including exceptions to social distancing and masks when everyone in the room is fully vaccinated, as well as allowing fully vaccinated people to return to work after a COVID exposure as long as they’re asymptomatic.
However, the Cal/OSHA Standards Board has now postponed its vote so the proposal can be revised.
They said several board members expressed concerns about being too hasty and relaxing the rules and worried about creating a “two-class system of vaccinated versus unvaccinated.”
The newly updated workplace safety Cal/OSHA proposal is scheduled to be released to the public next Friday, with the board vote on June 3.