With COVID-19 cases down and vaccines up, California celebrates by fully reopening

·6 min read

Jun. 16—When San Joaquin County was promoted to the orange tier of the state's Blueprint for a Safer Economy two weeks ago, the majority of its economic sectors were allowed to operate indoors with modifications.

Now that the entire state of California officially reopened Tuesday, all economic sectors can return to business as usual, with no capacity limits, no social distancing, no tier system, and relaxed mask guidance.

"It's just a breath of fresh air," Lodi Grape Festival manager Mark Armstrong said. "We still have some rules we still have to operate under, but we're just so happy to reopen and have events, and be an event center again."

While the Grape Festival Grounds are not considered a "mega event" location by state COVID-19 standards, the site was hit hard by the pandemic last year.

Every major event scheduled for 2020 and early 2021 — including the Grape Festival, the Golden State Pinball Festival and the Lodi Comic Con — was postponed.

But Armstrong said this fall will be a busy one for the festival grounds, as available dates for events are being snatched up by event organizers.

"Last year was a tough one, but we got through it," he said. "We had the (Lodi) Outdoor Market, we had the Fair Food Frenzy. When this all first came down, people would move (events) a month or two ahead. Nobody knew how long this was going to last. That's when they booked October and November. People are still booking."

Lodi District Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Pat Patrick said two weeks ago that it appeared many businesses in the city had already fully reopened — even before the county had been promoted to the orange tier.

Still, with the state officially reopening Tuesday, he said it was welcome news and was happy Gov. Gavin Newsom kept his word to reopen.

"It's a long time coming and a good time to celebrate," he said. "We should all lift a glass of Lodi Zinfandel and toast the reactivation of the business community in Lodi."

Sally Snyde, president and CEO of the World of Wonders Science Museum on Sacramento Street, said the museum has been busy since it partially reopened on April 15.

"We're excited to be fully reopened so that everyone can come in again," she said. "I think this gives people a little more freedom they can have when they come to the museum. Everybody's feeling really great about it."

The museum will remain closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays until August so her staff can thoroughly clean everything and ensure the safety of guests, Snyde said. After Aug. 1, she said, the museum will still close one or two Tuesdays a month for cleaning.

Staff will still wear facial coverings for safety as well, she said.

"We're going to follow any rules or guidelines the state wants us to follow so we can stay open," she said. "It's still a slow transition from being completely closed for a year to being able to completely reopen, but things are picking up and we're getting booked. Soon we'll be completely up and running. It's great."

San Joaquin County Parks announced that it would begin accepting facility reservations at its two regional parks in the Lodi area as of June 15 as well.

Until Tuesday, both the Oak Grove and Micke Grove regional parks allowed private parties at a reduced number of facilities while requiring a limited number of guests and vaccination standards.

Guests can now reserve park facilities as they would have done prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the parks department said.

That means all facilities — including the Delta, Camanche and San Joaquin pavilions at Micke Grove; the Oaks Pavilion at Oak Grove; and Harmony Grove Church can now be reserved for the maximum site capacity.

Reservations can be made by calling 209-953-8800, or in person at the Park Office at Micke Grove. Reservations are accepted weekdays between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., and payment must be made in full at the time of booking.

All first-come, first-serve areas at parks remain open and all rules still apply, including no tables or chairs, bounce houses, amplified sound, water apparatuses, trailer BBQ's or generators allowed.

All parks are open from 8 a.m. until 30 minutes before sunset.

Micke Grove Zoo is open Wednesdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., while the water play feature is open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Parking fees are $5 weekdays, $6 weekends and most holidays and $10 special holidays.

The Stockton Ports announced that with the return to full capacity at Banner Island Ballpark, tickets for the remainder of the 2021 season were on sale, including for the team's annual Independence Day celebration July 3 and 4. Visit atmilb.com/35nojA3 to purchase tickets.

While the state reopened Tuesday, the California Department of Public Health still had its COVID metrics map available.

The state's new COVID case rate was 1.8 per 100,000 Tuesday, and its test positivity rate was .8%. Yuba County was the only jurisdiction still experiencing substantial COVID-19 transmission, while 28 other counties, including San Joaquin, Sacramento and Stanislaus, were seeing a moderate transmission rate.

Another 29 counties, or 76.3% of the population, was experiencing minimal transmission.

There have been 74,419 COVID-19 cases and 1,432 deaths in San Joaquin County since the pandemic began last year, and there are still 837 active cases, according to San Joaquin County Public Health Services.

There have been 4,942 cases and 154 deaths in Lodi's 95240 ZIP Code, and 2,090 cases and 38 deaths in the 95242 ZIP Code.

According to county public health, 267,514 residents have been fully vaccinated, while 59,943 are waiting for their second dose.

There have been 107,441 cases in Sacramento County and 1,725 deaths, according to Sacramento County Public Health. Of those, 2,837 cases and 47 deaths have been in Galt.

Some 644,275 residents have been fully vaccinated and 125,451 are waiting for their second dose.

Even though the tier system has been eliminated, some health and safety rules are still in effect.

Large-scale indoor events will have vaccination or negative test requirements for guests through at least Oct. 1, the CDPH said, while vaccination verification will be recommended for outdoor mega events of more than 5,000 people.

Masks and facial coverings will not be required for fully vaccinated people, unless attending crowded outdoor events like concerts, parades, fairs, festivals and sporting events, among others.

Those not fully vaccinated will still be required to wear masks or facial coverings outdoors any time social distancing can not be maintained.

For indoor settings outside the home, masks will be required regardless of vaccination status, with some exceptions. Those include in an office where individuals can be in a closed room, or those receiving medical or cosmetic services.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting