California’s Reopening Off to a Slow Start

By Vanessa Serna
Vanessa Serna
Vanessa Serna
Vanessa Serna is a California-based daily news reporter for The Epoch Times.
June 15, 2021 Updated: June 16, 2021

After more than a year of being restricted, businesses in Orange CountyCalifornia, began resuming normal operations June 15 as the state reopened.

“Having our biggest businesses closed down for a year had a devastating impact on hotels, restaurants, shops, [and] many smaller businesses,” Anaheim spokesperson Mike Lyster told The Epoch Times. “This is a very big milestone, but a very well-done milestone for them to get back to really largely normal operations.

“You will see a gradual increase, including an increase today, [but] it’s not a flip of a switch overnight.”

With most pandemic restrictions, such as social distancing and capacity limits being lifted, businesses have the autonomy to decide whether masks will be required from store patrons.

Local grocery stores, including Albertsons and Ralphs, are no longer requiring vaccinated guests to wear masks.

Similarly, Planet Fitness is lifting its mask mandate for vaccinated members. Conversely, LA Fitness is continuing to require masks for all members.

A few fitness centers, including Pure Barre Pilates studio in Rancho Santa Margarita, are allowing inoculated members to shed their masks with proof of vaccination.

Despite stating that nonvaccinated residents must wear masks, many stores and gyms are abiding by the honor system and not requiring proof of vaccination.

Some local restaurant workers said they’re still requiring guests to wear masks until they are fully seated. But while some restaurants are opening their indoor space at full capacity, others are still limiting their operations.

A manager at Avila’s El Ranchito in Laguna Beach said the restaurant will continue limiting capacity despite the statewide reopening.

“I want my customers to have a good experience, and I want them to be happy and not overwhelmed,” Michael, who didn’t provide his last name, told The Epoch Times. “We’re just trying to make everyone happy and comfortable and do the right thing.”

Similarly, despite the capacity limit being lifted from theme parks, full capacity will be delayed.

“Some places are still finding their way because it’s hard to go from one thing to the other very quickly,” Lyster said June 15. “Disneyland is able to go to full count capacity as of today, that doesn’t mean they go to full capacity just overnight. They’re working to increase capacity day by day; they also have to factor in having enough employees on hand.”

Museums in Los Angeles County, including The California African American Museum, California Science Center, and Natural History Museum, said they will continue to require masks.

“While Los Angeles is moving closer to community immunity, we cannot forget our vulnerable populations, including our youngest visitors—those 11 and under—who are not yet eligible to receive the vaccine,” a joint statement from the museums said. “It is important to us not only to help keep our community safe, but to help ensure that parents feel safe bringing their children to our museums.”

Vanessa Serna
Vanessa Serna
Vanessa Serna is a California-based daily news reporter for The Epoch Times.