COVID 2021

COVID PM: Of yellow, muffled mask guidance and conflictedness over vaccine side effects as a topic

Happy Tuesday evening, everyone.

I appreciate the feedback I received from many last night, both on possible unexpected vaccine side effects people had experienced and concerns about whether that is a responsible topic of discussion.

I don’t think I could’ve stumbled upon a better summation of the complex times we all are living in. And, frankly, we all deserve a deep, mind-clearing breath for it, my friends. Namaste.

I’ve got deeper thoughts on this topic and I promise to share them here at some point. (Please share with me yours if you have them.) But for tonight I’ll play it straight and stick to the news of the day, since we’ve got a pretty decent collection of it ...

On the ‘yellow’ front!

The COVID-19 testing center at the Civic Auditorium
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Third time’s a charm: Santa Cruz County moves into yellow tier, loosening up restrictions on many businesses: After twice just missing out on a move from orange into yellow, Santa Cruz County got the nod finally on Tuesday and will officially join the yellow tier ranks one day from now. Mallory Pickett with more on what that means for us here.

On the masking front

Keeping track of masking protocol and how to enforce it will continue to be a challenge for business owners.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Amid the muffled mask guidance, local businesses begin plotting their path back to life: The Centers for Disease Control says one thing, the state is following another course (at least until June 15), and from there it remains unclear what kind of guidance will exist for businesses on how to check whether a customer has been vaccinated or not. Our new business reporter, Neil Strebig, talked to some downtown business folks about the real struggles behind and ahead.

Starbucks, Target, Trader Joe’s are dropping mask rules. Why California is stopping them for now: Target and Starbucks are dropping their mask requirements for customers who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, joining a growing list of businesses changing their face-covering policies after the CDC updated its guidance last week. More from the LA Times here.

Californians back proof of COVID vaccine or negative test at workplaces, other venues: As California’s businesses reopen, a majority of state residents are in support of allowing entertainment venues to require proof that their patrons are vaccinated or have tested negative for COVID-19, and for some employers to require vaccinations of workers, according to a statewide poll. More from the Times here.

On the statewide front

File image of Golden Gate Bridge
(via Pixabay)

California’s rebound — COVID-19 declines dramatically even as normal life returns: With California set to fully reopen its economy in a matter of weeks, the state hit a key milestone as coronavirus-related deaths and new cases plummeted to dramatic lows. More from the Times here.

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More from here & elsewhere

Slow uptake of COVID-19 vaccine in rural areas could hinder the end of the pandemic, CDC says (CNN)
About 60% of American adults have had at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, including more people of color (CNN)
600K children have received their first COVID-19 vaccine dose (NBC News)
Mexico aims to give population at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose by October (NBC News)
India surpasses 25 million COVID-19 cases as powerful cyclone slows response effort (ABC News)
White House COVID adviser’s son suffering ‘long-haul’ symptoms (USA Today)
San Francisco Giants announce major changes to fan attendance rules (SF Gate)
She was pregnant. She was sick. And in India, she had nowhere to go (NPR)

See you all tomorrow!

Mark Conley
Deputy Managing Editor