June 17, 2021

By Betti Halsell

Contributing Writer


June 15, 2021 is a new historical benchmark; California has officially lifted COVID-19 restrictions that were in place since March 2020.

The announcement was made by California State Governor, Gavin Newsom, at Universal City Walk in Los Angeles. The governor dissected a new reality, that the State is looking to face, in addition to elaborating on the Vax for the Win incentive program.

Starting June 15, all restrictions that have been in place for the past year will be removed. That includes physical distancing, capacity limits, and masks will not be enforced throughout the state.

In March 2020, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, predicted millions of U.S. citizens would be affected. As of June 15, 2021 there has been over 34 million cases recorded.

Statistically Black Americans have been the most susceptible ethnic group to the coronavirus; data reflects a significant imbalance in death rates among Black and Brown communities.

Governor Newsom acted immediately and called for a complete shutdown, on March 19, 2020, Newsom ordered the state’s 40 million residents to stay at home, and restricted non-essential movements. These efforts were put into place to try to curve the spread of COVID-19.

On Tuesday June 15, 2021, California assessed their economical standing and the studies projected California to be ranked as number one in the U.S. economy for “expanding GDP, raising household income, investing in innovation,” according to the news released on Gov.CA.,California has created more jobs than any other state for the last three months, in addition to creating 38 percent of the nation’s jobs over all.

Through the waves of the pandemic, California remained one of the states that had the lowest case rates in the nation. Currently, in the urgency for vaccinations, California administered over 40 million shots. With the current stability of cases and vaccination distribution, Newsom announced the lift of the state restrictions on June 15, 2021.

Governor Newsom stated, “Today, we celebrate the incredible strength and resilience of Californians – from our heroic health care workers to essential workers across the board to everyday Californians from all walks of life – who have supported each other through hardship and heartache over the past year, making sacrifices to save countless lives and enable us to turn the page on this pandemic.”

Newsom continued, “As we look ahead to better days, we will continue to look out for one another, redoubling our support to those hit hardest by the pandemic and making unprecedented investments to address California’s most persistent challenges, so that the entire state comes roaring back together.”

The announcement was made at Universal City Walk, subsequently the winners of the Vax for the Win received their $50,000 checks. Los Angeles natives Helen Cordova, Aurelia, and Reyna from Orange County were the winners of the drawing.

Exploring the numbers behind receiving vaccinations, there has been a week-to-week increase of shots distributed since the launch of Vax for the Win. According to the source mentioned prior, there has been over a 22 percent increase in vaccinations.

Every turn of the viral pandemic exposed a deeper shade of injustice within the Black community. From the variation in opinion on vaccination to the financial gap, and digital divide, there has been a racial stigma attached to the concerns that followed the spread of COVID-19.

In reference to cdph.ca.gov, there has been an approximate total of 3 million cases found in California as of June 9, 2021. Addressing the affect COVID-19 had on the Black community within California, there has been over 100,000 positive coronavirus cases with 3,000 positive reports resulting in death, accounting for 6.4 percent of the state’s population.

Digging deeper into the research, and acknowledging death rate per capita nationwide, Black people have died at higher rate; at 1.4 times the amount of White people, referring to the data found on covidtracking.com/race.

Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas reflected on the colossal milestone June 15 brings to California, stating, “As we embark on this significant milestone in the reopening of our State, we must remember that although we have made major strides against COVID-19, the battle is not yet over. While we may feel fully liberated when we unmask, we cannot lose sight that the best weapon in our arsenal is to get vaccinated. So, if you haven't yet, get vaccinated. There is no more critical time to do it."

Masks are still be recommended for unvaccinated Angelenos, especially in public places such as hospitals, long-term care facilities, shelters for people experiencing homelessness, and indoor K-12 learning environments.

Moving into another shift in ­operating businesses, starting on Tuesday restaurants, bars, and other retails will have the option to dismiss the social distancing restrictions that were placed upon them back in March.

Business ownership within the Black community has seen extreme prosperity and immense struggle from different Black-owned establishments during the global pandemic. The reopening of the state could possibly be the difference between closing their doors for good or expanding the business pass their expectations.

Governor Newsom created a moment of celebration; accompanying him on the stage as he made the announcement were characters from popular kid’s films “Trolls,” “Despicable Me,” and “Transformers,” bringing in the resurgence of physical contact. There was theme of “getting on with the show,” in essence of the energy vibrating in this post-pandemic era.

Also present at the celebration of the reopening were other community leaders such as L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis and California Senator Robert Hertzberg.

Supervisor Solis stated on twitter on Tuesday, “California is officially fully re-open! It is because of all Californians that we have arrived at this point.”

Newsom closed with a hope as the beacon of light on this new frontier, he said, “"Today's about reaching out the serendipity of life — meeting strangers, having the opportunity to experience all the wonders of the world that are here at Universal Studios," Newsom continued, "Today’s a day to celebrate the incredible journey we’ve been on over the course of the last 15 months."

Category: Community