ABC7 explores what's changed since California COVID-19 restrictions lifted

ByAmy Hollyfield, Luz Pena, Wayne Freedman, and Cornell Barnard, Matt Boone KGO logo
Thursday, June 17, 2021
ABC7 explores what's changed since CA COVID-19 rules lifted
California's coronavirus restrictions lifted today, but what has actually changed? We sent several ABC7 News reporters out across the Bay Area to find out.Businesses and places of worship in San Jose navigate fewer restrictions since the June 15 California reopening date.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- California's coronavirus restrictions lifted Tuesday, but what has actually changed? We sent several ABC7 News reporters out across the Bay Area to find out.

MORE: June 15 is here - everything changing in California's grand reopening

San Francisco

Reporter Luz Pena scoped out several businesses in the city. When she dropped by Nightingale Bar, they were in the full swing of things getting ready to fully reopen. They brought out their cash register from storage for the first time in over a year.

Pena also swung by City Hall, where couples were celebrating an even bigger milestone than the June 15 reopening: their wedding days.

She also visited the Ferry Building, where masks are still required. That's because the building is categorized as a "transit hub."

East Bay

Reporter Amy Hollyfield started her morning at Starbucks, where masks are now optional for vaccinated customers in accordance with the updated mask mandate.

On BART, however, masks are still required for all riders. Hollyfield said she still saw everyone wearing masks while she was at the Dublin/Pleasanton station.

"Our latest data capture found 96% of the people were wearing masks. For the very few who don't want to wear masks, they will be escorted off of the system. But that is very rare," said BART spokesperson Jim Allison.

Reporter Cornell Barnard visited the Pacific Pinball Museum in Alameda, which reopened for the first time in over a year. They're still asking visitors to wear masks for now, just to be safe.

"To me reopening day means less mask wearing and more hope for California," said Diane Deering from Alameda.

Barnard also swung by the Oakland Zoo, which has been open for a while now. They're embracing the looser mask restrictions for adults, but asking kids under 11 continue to stay masked up since they cannot yet be vaccinated.

South Bay

Reporter Matt Boone checked out a grocery store in San Jose Tuesday morning. The owner told him he doesn't trust the "honor system," so he's continuing to require all customers still wear masks -- not just those who are unvaccinated.

He also visited a gym where masks are no longer required, but found many people wearing them anyways.

Reporter Chris Nguyen found the same thing at Westfield Valley Fair mall. They removed social distancing markers and brought back certain communal activities like ping pong tables. Masks aren't required for vaccinated folks here, either, but there were still plenty of masks to be seen.

Reporter Amanda Del Castillo visited several businesses and places of worship in the South Bay. Most are taking the transition step-by-step, with more changes expected in the near future.

At Casino Matrix in San Jose, 49 tables signal full capacity on gaming. New Tuesday, they opened to full capacity on dining.

"One of the big changes that we're going to have, is now we're allowed to serve food at the gaming tables again," Casino Matrix VP, Rob Lindo said. "And for a lot of players, they come in, they want a snack. They weren't allowed to eat at the table. And that was one of the things that, I think, a lot of them missed."


Reporter Wayne Freedman ventured out to the Peninsula where they were celebrating the first day of California reopening by having a party, complete with a vaccine clinic and ribbon cutting.

"Vaccinations work, and that is what this celebrates," said Supervisor David Canepa.

"We haven't seen each other's faces for 15 months. We need this," added UCSF epidemiologist Dr. Monica Gandhi. She supported wearing masks during the pandemic, but with 90% of the county now at least partially vaccinated, Ghandi says masks are no longer necessary.

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