San Bernardino County, along with the rest of the state, has fully reopened its economy — eliminating various restrictions and saying farewell to the color-coded county tier system that residents have been living under for the past several months.
Everyday life here will now largely return to pre-COVID norms. Restaurants, bars, retail stores, theaters, hotels and entertainment centers may return to usual operations -- meaning no capacity limitations and no requirements for social distancing.
All of California's restrictions on travel outside the state will be lifted, and the state says it is not considering creating a vaccine passport.
“This is a day we’ve all been waiting for,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman in a news release. “While we have been through one of the most challenging periods in our county’s history, I’m very proud of the way we’ve pulled together as a community -- with everyone from hospital workers and grocery clerks to local business owners working together to protect each other and overcome this pandemic.”
----- FONTANA Mayor Acquanetta Warren posted a video on social media proclaiming the news: "I'm so excited and I know you are too."
The City Council will hold its first in-person meeting of 2021 on Tuesday, June 22 at 7 p.m. The City Council has held virtual meetings for many months.
"We are excited to welcome back attendees into the Council Chambers," the city said in a news release.
The Fontana Police Department's front lobby has been reopened to the public. Normal business hours are Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 17005 Upland Avenue.
Also in Fontana, select summer camps, programs, and classes are back in person. Residents can view the list of open activities at recreation.fontana.org.
The Community Services Department does not have an update on other events (such as the popular summer Concerts in the Park), but staff members are working to bring back those activities, the city said.
In addition, Center Stage Theater in downtown Fontana, which has been shut down for more than a year, is in the final planning stages of its gradual reopening.
"It is our plan to have live performances back again near the end of July," said Todd and Jennifer Vigiletti, executive producers of the shows at Center Stage, in a message on the theater's website. "We anticipate a gradual build up of our live program offerings and hope to be in 'full swing' by the fall."
----- THE QUESTION OF MASKS
California and San Bernardino County will align with the revised mask guidelines recently announced by the Centers for Disease Control. This states: “Fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.”
This means while fully vaccinated individuals won’t need to wear face coverings in most indoor and outdoor settings, they will still be required to wear a mask on planes, buses, trains, airports and transportation stations. Other places where vaccinated people will still need to wear masks include health care settings, prisons, homeless shelters and schools. In addition, private businesses may choose to continue requiring facial coverings.
And of course, anyone is free to wear a mask anytime they’d like, especially when around children and others who are vulnerable or not yet eligible for vaccination.
Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated individuals will still be required to wear facial coverings outside of their home. Unvaccinated Californians can only take off their masks in public when they're outside and can maintain six feet of distance with others.
As for workplaces, Gov. Gavin Newsom said that he expects the State Division of Occupational Safety and Health, better knowns as Cal/OSHA, to vote on June 17 to allow vaccinated employees to go maskless in California workplaces. Those not vaccinated would still have to wear masks when working indoors or in vehicles. If Cal/OSHA does that, Newsom said he would immediately issue an executive order to put the new rule into effect immediately.
----- NEW COUNTY HEALTH ORDER
An additional sign that life is returning to normal is a new county health order just signed by the San Bernardino County health officer designed to align practices at health care facilities with statewide guidelines.
The new order aligns with California Department of Public Health guidance by encouraging rather than requiring health care facilities to conduct some form of wellness screening at their entrances.
The new order also makes it clear that there are no county-imposed face-covering requirements in San Bernardino County. Guidelines set forth by the California Department of Public Health, based on greatly-relaxed guidance from the CDC, continue to apply to all jurisdictions within the state and cannot be mitigated by any action at the county or city level.
The order will be reviewed by the Board of Supervisors at a public meeting within 30 days, in accordance with the County Charter.
----- MEGA EVENTS
Also, what the state deems “mega events” -- outdoor live events attended by more than 10,000 people and indoor events with 5,000 or more attendees -- still face some restrictions.
Those attending indoor events must either be vaccinated or have recently achieved a negative COVID-19 test.
The same guidelines are recommended (though not mandated) for outdoor events.
Businesses and venue operators may require proof or self-attestation at point of registration, during ticket purchase or on the day of the event prior to entry into the venue. The mega event requirements will remain in place until Oct. 1.