Newsom says California could ‘open up as business as usual’ on June 15
By Craig Lazzeretti and Ann Peterson
(Tuesday, April 6) On the same day Contra Costa County learned it is moving back to the orange tier, state officials announced Tuesday a plan that could end most restrictions in California on June 15.
If there are enough vaccinations widely available and COVID-related hospitalizations remain low, State Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly said, most businesses could reopen without capacity limits on June 15. That wouldn’t put an end to some safety rules, such as wearing masks, but would be welcome news for restaurants, bars, movie theaters and other businesses that have faced strict restrictions for more than a year.
“We will be getting rid of the colored tiers; we will be moving past the dimmer switch,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said at a press conference Tuesday. “We can confidently say by June 15 that we can start to open up as business as usual – subject to ongoing mask-wearing and ongoing vigilance.”
The news came as California reported 7.3 million were fully vaccinated and 13.2 million had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. That prompted the state Tuesday to lower requirements for its color-coded reopening tiers.
To reach orange, counties now must be between 2 and 5.9 new COVID cases per 100,000. Contra Costa – with 5.1 cases Tuesday – landed in the less restrictive orange tier for the first time in five months.
The move to orange brings with it greater latitude for social and public gatherings, including many indoor activities going from 25% to 50% capacity. The state also announced last Friday that most counties, including Contra Costa, can welcome in-person audiences again for theater, sports and concerts starting April 15.
Capacity limits will be set based on the color-coded tier a county is in.
But given its vulnerable, older population, Rossmoor may not necessarily reopen as quickly or extensively as elsewhere.
“Our practice is always to evaluate any changes in the orders or guidance, seek clarification where needed from the county, alert the community, and then proceed with changes,” Director of Resident Services Jeff Matheson said.
Outdoor and indoor pools
With that in mind, the indoor Tice Creek pools and table tennis facility will reopen on Monday, April 12.
Anticipating the reopening, GRF temporarily suspended reservations for the Dollar and Hillside pools beyond April 16. Residents can again begin making reservations for all Rossmoor pools on Friday, April 9 at 7 a.m.
Tice pools will be open Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and on weekends from 6 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The pools will be closed for cleaning on Thursday until noon.
Dollar and Hillside pools will be open daily from 6 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. However, Hillside on Tuesday and Dollar on Wednesday will be closed until noon for cleaning.
Residents will be allowed to make up to five weekly pool reservations. Sessions will run for 60 minutes, followed by 30 minutes of closed sessions for cleaning.
The locker rooms at Tice Creek Fitness Center and the outdoor pools will reopen with limited availability for lockers and showers, starting Monday, April 12. Residents will be asked to wipe down locker and bench surfaces before and after use, with wipes provided.
Aqua classes will be offered at Tice’s warm pool by reservation only. These are available in the pool reservation system.
The orange tier also expands capacity at the Fitness Center to 25%. General use access will expand from 10 to 20 people starting Monday, April 12. Reservations for the increased capacity will be available starting Friday, April 9 at 7 a.m.
Residents will be allowed to make up to three weekly reservations with no more than one reservation per day at the Fitness Center. Reservations can be made on the app or online at https://www.ticefitnesscenter.com/mindbody-home/.
The pools and Fitness Center are open for residents only. No guests are allowed.
Table tennis also will reopen Monday, April 12 for members of the Rossmoor Table Tennis Club. Members will be allowed to play two times per week on different days.
Starting Thursday, April 8 at 8 a.m., reservations can be made by emailing scheduler Anne Kuritubo at email@example.com. No phone calls or texts will be accepted. Reservations will be accepted in the order in which they are received.
Movies and more
Peacock Hall, which recently resumed showing movies at 25% capacity, would be allowed to go as high as 50% under the orange tier, but Matheson cautioned that “we likely will move very slow on the Peacock Hall reopening.” He added that the same would be true for crafts and hobby studios that recently began partial reopenings.
Other reopenings Rossmoor residents can eventually expect from the county’s return to orange include billiards, Matheson said. In addition, golf carts could be shared with a divider; outdoor concerts with assigned seating may resume; and indoor capacity for religious services may expand.
Creekside Grill expanded to 50% capacity indoors.
GRF also will consult with county health officials regarding the state’s plans to loosen restrictions for indoor gatherings starting April 15 to determine GRF policy for rentals and club activities in its facilities, he said. The state has indicated that capacities could be higher for venues requiring vaccinations or COVID testing for attendees, but GRF had not yet had time to analyze the rules.
Reopening efforts, meanwhile, are going hand in hand with the rapid expansion of vaccine eligibility for Contra Costa residents. The county announced last week that it is now encouraging everyone 16 and older who lives or works in the county to request an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine.
The move to open up eligibility to everyone 16 and older coincided with an influx of vaccine doses to the county. The increased supply allowed the county to discard the eligibility phases it had established to prioritize who received vaccinations.
“Removing barriers of all kinds, including confusing eligibility criteria, is an important step in furthering our equity goals,” Contra Costa County Health Director Anna Roth said in a news release.
Residents 16 and older can request a vaccination appointment through Contra Costa Health Services by registering online at https://tinyurl.com/1xt2brot or by calling 1-833-829-2626. Further information on the appointment request process and how to help neighbors and friends navigate it can be found at: https://tinyurl.com/394kbrsn.