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Gov. Newsom’s coronavirus reopening tour rolls into Six Flags Magic Mountain

VALENCIA — Gov. Gavin Newsom renewed this week’s celebration inspired by the lifting of widespread pandemic measures by rolling into Six Flags Magic Mountain on Wednesday, June 16, aiming to encourage Californians to enjoy the state’s attractions to help rekindle the economy — and to roll up their sleeves if they have yet to be vaccinated.

Coinciding with the state’s reopening drive, like most theme parks in the state, Six Flags has increased its attendance cap and ride capacities while ending its required mask policy for vaccinated attendees and reservation requirement. Newsom said the theme park will be giving away 50,000 free admission tickets to people who get their first COVID-19 vaccine dose at 65 select locations across the state.

The tickets are valid through Sept. 6 at any of Six Flags’ four parks in California — Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor in Valencia; Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo; or Hurricane Harbor Concord. A full list of the vaccine locations is available at

Newsom was also in Los Angeles County on Tuesday to mark the state’s “reopening day,” visiting Universal Studios Hollywood. Surrounded by Minions, Trolls and other Universal movie characters, he oversaw the drawing of the names of 10 lucky California residents who have been at least partially vaccinated against COVID-19. The winners receive $1.5 million each.

Gov. Gavin Newsom joined host James Corden on CBS’ The Late Late Show Tuesday night to talk about California’s reopening rules. Photo: State of California

The governor also appeared on The Late Late Show with James Corden on Tuesday night, laying out the state’s recovery blueprint.

On Tuesday, California lifted coronavirus-spurred restrictions on capacity within businesses, ended the color-coded county tier system and removed mask requirements for fully vaccinated individuals. While the majority of COVID restrictions are lifted, mask-wearing will continue to be in effect in many situations, and businesses can continue requiring customers to wear them. Vaccination efforts will also continue, with the county Department of Public Health on Monday urging residents to get the shots, particularly with the Fourth of July holiday on the horizon.

Newsom aimed to keep the reopening vibe alive Wednesday at the Valencia park known for its high-octane thrill rides — more enjoyable roller coasters experiences than the kind the state has been on for the past 18 months, while the pandemic claimed more than 62,000 lives statewide.

The state’s “Safer at Home” orders, aimed at saving lives by slowing the spread of the virus, took a huge toll on such destinations as Six Flags, Newsom acknowledged.

“We took a sledge hammer to the entertainment industry in the last year because of the stay-at-home order, no one’s naive,” Newsom said. “There was one sector of our economy that was particularly impacted by this pandemic, and that was hospitality, restaurants and entertainment. … This is a sector we need to pay particular attention to. We need to be here not just when the cameras are here but long after to get this sector of our economy back on its feet.”

Newsom said the state is making a major investment to encourage a rejuvenation of tourism, and urged Californians to “rediscover their own state.”

The governor said the state’s economic rebound was under way, touting that 38% share of jobs created across the nation last month sprouted in California. “We don’t talk about California coming back,” Newsom said. “We talk about it, rightfully, as roaring back.”

When asked about his emotions over the last week, the governor affirmed that lifting virus restrictions was indeed thrilling, but his mind is already shifting to other concerns, as the temperature promised to soar over 100 on Wednesday: “Wildfire season is already here.”

Fifth District Supervisor Kathryn Barger echoed the governor’s plea to unvaccinated residents, touting the effort to attain herd immunity via more vaccines: “If you haven’t already,” she said before Newsom’s appearance, “please please please get vaccinated.”

Vaccinations in the state continue to increase as deaths and hospitalizations continue to decline. According to California’s official coronavirus website, nearly 19 million people are fully vaccinated with more than 10 million of those coming from Los Angeles County along.

The governor didn’t give away any oversized checks on Wednesday, but the state’s “Vax for the Win” program will hold another vaccine-incentive drawing on July 1, giving away six California vacation packages, including trips to Anaheim, San Diego, Los Angeles, Rancho Mirage and San Francisco. Newsom said the incentives are working.

“California lays claim to being one of the few states that actually has seen a week-over-week increase in vaccine doses — 1.13 million people received at least a dose of vaccine over the last seven days, 219,000 yesterday in the last reporting period,” he said. “That’s a roughly 22% increase week-over-week in terms of vaccination rate, which is remarkable when you consider 72-plus percent of adults have already received one vaccine. But we cannot put down our guard.”

Meanwhile, more restrictions could be removed later this week. California’s Occupation Safety and Health Standards Board will consider revising workplace mask-wearing policy so that vaccinated workers would not have to wear masks while on the job. If they do choose to implement new standards, Newsom said he is ready to issue an executive order immediately adopting OSHA’s agreed upon standards.

While the event was clearly meant to highlight California’s cautious strides back to normality, it also comes at a time when the governor is facing a possible recall, details of which should become more clear in the days ahead. More than 1.6 million people signed in favor of recall, enough votes to force an election. Counties still have to report the number of people who have taken their names off the petition, but with buffer room of more than 100,000 names the election seems imminent.

The recall is estimated to cost California taxpayers approximately $215 million.

Months ago, Newsom’s coronavirus response, which critics said put undue strain on small business, was cited as one of the key triggers for the recall. So while his victory lap is in full swing, his message of economic recovery will be tested in the lead-up to the vote.

“In the last 15 months under Gavin Newsom’s harshest-in-the-nation shutdowns, California’s children lost more than a year of in-person schooling, nearly 20,000 businesses permanently closed, unemployment skyrocketed, and his broken unemployment department continues ignoring more than a million Californians in need,” said Jessica Millan Patterson, chair of the state Republican Party. “While I’m thankful to finally be closer to joining the rest of the country that reopened long ago, I won’t forget the devastating experiences of too many Californians as a result of this governor’s one-man rule. Even now, as he claims our state is reopening, he’s refusing to give up his emergency powers.”

Changes in state and local pandemic policies are likely in the days ahead, providing the outbreak continues to yield. California’s mask-wearing guidance for the general public aligns largely with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations. The guidance allows fully vaccinated people to stop wearing masks in most situations. But they are still be required in certain settings for all people, regardless of vaccination status:

  • On public transit, including airplanes, ships, trains, buses, taxis and ride-hailing vehicles, and in transportation hubs such as airports, but terminals, train stations, seaports, marinas and subway stations;
  • Indoors at K-12 schools, child-care facilities and other youth settings;
  • Health-care settings, including long-term care facilities;
  • At state and local correctional facilities and detention centers; and
  • At homeless shelters, emergency shelters and cooling centers.

Masks are still required for unvaccinated people in indoor public settings and businesses such as retail stores, restaurants, theaters, movie theaters, family entertainment centers and government offices serving the public.

Business and event-venue operators can choose how to enforce those rules. According to the state, they have three options:

  • Businesses and venues can publicly post rules regarding mask-wearing and allow customers and visitors to “self-attest” that they are vaccinated, meaning if someone enters the business without a mask they are attesting to being vaccinated;
  • They can “implement a vaccine-verification system to determine whether individuals are required to wear a mask”; or
  • They can simply require all patrons to wear a mask.

City News Service contributed to this report. 


Source: Orange County Register

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