Gov. Newsom is flanked by the iconic California lottery prize wheel June 4 in Sacramento. Image via Governor's YouTube feed.
Written by Breanna Hardy
The first day of California’s reopening has arrived, and along with it a new era of normalcy in daily life.
Gov. Gavin Newsom held another lottery Tuesday — this time giving away $1.5 million to 10 winners who have already received at least one dose of the vaccine.
The final vaccination lottery was presented today at Universal Studios in Los Angeles.
“We are here, June 15, to turn the page,” he said.
California has moved beyond capacity limits, color coding tiers, social distancing and masks for fully vaccinated individuals.
“This has been a tough year for all of us, a tough 15 months for all of us. All the fear and anxiety that we’ve all had to work through,” Newsom said.
The State of California boasts one of the lowest case rates in the country and one of the lowest positivity rates. It also has among the highest vaccination rates in the U.S. — and No. 9 in the world. Newsom says it’s why the state is able to open today.
In the past six weeks, the state has hovered below 1% case positivity.
“This is not a day where we announce, ‘mission accomplished.’ Quite the contrary. We are here because of your hard work, we are here because of your resilience,” Newsom said.
The work remains to vaccinate the rest of Californians and be mindful of present and future variants around the world. The Delta variant, which first originated in India, is gaining traction and is expected to possibly be the dominant variant.
“We need to keep our guard up. We can’t let our guard down,” he said.
In mass, large events, masks are still encouraged — but not required — to be mindful, he said.
As the state emerges from the pandemic, Newsom said 38% of jobs in America are coming out of California. Newsom referred to California as the “temple of the American economy.”
Newsom is not planning on mandating vaccinations for firefighters or police officers, but he does plan on talking further about a vaccination verification program. Right now, it’s self-attestation and the honor system and businesses can choose whether they want to still require customers to wear masks.
“We’re still encouraging people that are unvaccinated to still be mindful of others,” he said. He emphasized that businesses are encouraged to do what they deem necessary, and request customers to wear masks if they see fit.
“Today’s about hugging again. Today’s about reaching out and the serendipity of life.
This disease is not going to take today off; it’s not going to take the summer months off, he said.
“Today’s a day to celebrate the incredible journey we’ve been on over the last 15 months,” he said.