Since June 15, California has remained open, with many of the state’s COVID-19 restrictions being lifted. This has allowed for provisions such as mask requirements, social distancing requirements, and reduced building capacities to end in many businesses and public settings.
Kern Sol News polled Kern County residents about their thoughts on the state of California’s decision to lift COVID-19 restrictions and how the community plans to approach day to day situations from now moving forward. Of the responses received, a majority expressed plans to return to normalcy with the reopening.
For instance, 78.9 percent of respondents said they plan to go to restaurants and bars now that the state has reopened. Per the official California state government website, bars and restaurants are now operating with no capacity limits or social distancing requirements.
Furthermore, 57.1 percent of respondents said they do not plan to wear a mask when performing day-to-day public activities, such as grocery shopping, aligning with many of California businesses’ decisions to lift a mask mandate with the state’s reopening. However, when asked whether they plan to wear a mask while performing indoor, physical activity, a majority, or 55.4 percent, of respondents answered no. This is notable because gyms are among the types of places that are no longer required to have mask mandates since California’s reopening.
Also, 54.4 percent of respondents plan to attend large, public events such as concerts or sports games. As such large public events are carried out more frequently, it is likely that a negative COVID-19 test and/or proof of vaccination will be required for entry, per the recommendation of the state. With this, 81.8 percent of respondents plan to or have already received the COVID-19 vaccine.
The most overwhelming consensus in Kern Sol News’ polling is that 91.2 percent of respondents plan to attend parties or family gatherings more frequently. Comparably, 80.4 percent of respondents plan to travel more often as well.
Lastly, Kern Sol News gathered responses about whether respondents were in support of California’s decision to reopen.
One respondent replied with the following: “Truthfully, no. COVID did not disappear. A new strain is already going around.”
Another respondent, hesitant about California’s decision to reopen, expressed similar concern about the idea of a variant of COVID-19 arising.
“The state of California is doing much better, but I worry about Kern County,” the respondent said. “Our vaccination numbers are extremely low. I hope we do not become a victim of the Delta variant of the virus because people refuse to get vaccinated or follow safety protocols if they are not.”
Meanwhile, there were many responses expressing optimistic support of California’s reopening. One respondent replied, “Yes, we need to get back to normal routines and, if we can start changing that bit by bit, it will be a great change!”
Another respondent replied with, “Yes, life goes on. As long as proper precautions are taken for those at risk. Those who are unvaccinated should be aware of the risk they run for choosing to not get vaccinated.”
There were some respondents who, while in agreement with the state’s decision to reopen, expressed some concerns about how lifting restrictions might impact infection rates.
“Yes I support the reopening but with caution. People should still wear masks in public areas like stores, schools, restaurants, etc.”
Overall, 77.4 percent of respondents were in general support of California’s decision to reopen, while 22.6 percent expressed disapproval or hesitancy.
Featured photo by Henry A. Barrios.