Californians headed to campgrounds, beaches and restaurants on the long holiday weekend as the state prepared to shed some of its coronavirus rules
The beaches of Southern California were busy with families barbecuing and kids playing in the sand and surf. Business owners said they were scrambling to hire workers to keep up with the stream of customers eager to move out as virus cases have fallen and vaccinations have risen.
“It feels very, very close to normal,” Bob Alfera, a resident of Santa Monica by the Sea, told KCBS-TV.
The jump in travel and entertainment comes as California prepares to relax social distancing and masking rules in two weeks as long as coronavirus cases remain low.
California was the first US state to implement a statewide shutdown after the virus emerged in March 2020 and the country’s epicenter for the disease in early 2021.
But the state has reported a significant change. In recent weeks, new reported infections in California have dropped below 1,000 in a matter of days and the state’s positivity rate has been 1%.
The state is now hoping to end its tier system for commercial operations on June 15. Already, nearly 90% of California’s population lives in the lower two of the four tiers of the state that guide business activities.
Large-scale indoor events will have vaccination or negative test requirements until at least October.
California gears up for summer entertainment as pandemic-related rules change.
At Los Angeles International Airport, travel reached a record 2021 on Friday, with more than 78,000 passengers passing through Transportation Security Administration checkpoints, airport officials said. The Los Angeles Times reported that daily passenger traffic is still about half what it was two years ago, but continues to rise.
“It’s been a long year, and seeing people come back to the airport is a big change of pace,” airport spokesman Heather Montgomery said.
The members got together in the West Hills for coffee and donuts and to catch up last year, Ed Reynolds, a veteran of Wings Over Wendy’s, told KTLA Television.
“It’s good to see these faces again,” he said, his voice breaking. “It’s kind of emotional.”