Tuesday: As California reopens, here’s a look back at what the state has endured.
June 15, 2021
At midnight, it became official: California is open.
Of course, the coronavirus pandemic isn’t over, and life isn’t back to the way it was before most of us had heard of the mysterious, deadly illness we now call Covid-19.
But the lifting of nearly all of the state’s remaining pandemic restrictions is a significant emotional and psychological milestone for residents of a state that has experienced some of the nation’s most enduring lockdowns.
As my colleagues and I reported, the reactions to today’s reopening have varied widely, from outright jubilation to continued frustration with Gov. Gavin Newsom for keeping orders in place for so long.
For many Californians, not much may change today. Workers will still have to wear masks, even if they’re vaccinated, for at least part of this week.
Still, Californians have survived a lot in the past year and a half — and that’s to say nothing of the wildfires, smoke-filled skies, heat, drought and other disasters that have befallen our state while the coronavirus has ravaged communities.
To give a little perspective, here’s a short timeline of the coronavirus pandemic in California:
Jan. 29, 2020: The U.S. government imposes a two-week quarantine on 195 people evacuated from Wuhan, China, to March Air Reserve Base in Riverside. It is a rare step.
March 9, 2020: The Grand Princess cruise ship, which was stranded off the coast of California with coronavirus cases on board, docks at the Port of Oakland. It’s a floating symbol of America’s fear of the virus.
March 13, 2020: The state’s four largest school districts — Los Angeles Unified, San Diego Unified, Fresno Unified and Long Beach Unified — announce they’ll close classrooms, as health officials in Los Angeles confirm eight more coronavirus cases in the county. District officials expect the closures to last weeks.
Aug. 28, 2020: Newsom unveils the state’s color-coded tier system for reopening. It will be the last framework for imposing and easing restrictions county by county.
Nov. 12, 2020: California becomes the second state after Texas to reach one million known coronavirus cases.
Dec. 3, 2020: Amid another surge in cases — the most terrifying California has experienced, because hospitals are overwhelmed — the state imposes new, stringent stay-at-home orders on a regional basis, based on the capacity of intensive care units. Restaurants offering outdoor dining close again. Families brace for distanced holidays.
Compiled by Jonathan Wolfe
Covid-19 deaths in Santa Clara County highlight a terrible disparity in the pandemic: Hispanic Americans died at younger ages, unraveling families and communities.
San Francisco will require employees to be vaccinated at high-risk workplaces, like hospitals and nursing homes, and will enforce stricter rules for large events, The San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Newsom outlined a plan to boost tourism as California reopens.
The governor also gave more details about the state’s vaccine verification system, which will be electronic vaccine cards that can be kept on phones, SFGate reports.
Community colleges are wary of taking more money from the state to hire new faculty, as sagging enrollment numbers could leave them on the hook for salaries if the money dries up, CalMatters reports.
California, already facing a severe drought, is likely to be hit by a record-breaking heat wave this week.
The Salton Sea, California’s largest lake, is drying up and exposing communities to toxic dust from the pesticides in the lake bed. A number of proposals to fix the issue focus on pulling in water from the Sea of Cortez in Mexico, USA Today reports.
The Salton Sea also experienced three dozen earthquakes up to 3.2 magnitude within 24 hours on Monday, The San Luis Obispo Tribune reports.
Overdoses from fentanyl have increased by more than 2,100 percent in California in five years, The Guardian reports.
Before Bernie Curran was suspended as a senior building inspector for possible unethical behavior, he approved a mixed-use building with 20 illegal units, Mission Local reports.
Most concert venues in California are still waiting for delayed emergency federal relief funds, KQED reports.
CalMatters asks: Can Kevin Faulconer, the former mayor of San Diego, run for governor without gimmicks?
An airplane was discovered in a lake near Beals Point, possibly solving a 56-year-old mystery involving a crash, CNN reports.
The Supreme Court rejected sentence reductions for minor crack offenses.
A litter of gray wolf pups was spotted in Colorado for the first time in 80 years.
The reopening of Las Vegas’s shows demonstrates a hard pandemic reality: It’s hard to open shows without tourists, and it’s hard to draw tourists without shows.
Disneyland is dropping its mask requirement for fully vaccinated guests today, ABC 7 reports.
Real estate: What $5 million gets you in California.