June 15th is the date many California residents have fixated on as much of the state is expected to return to usual operations. "Beginning June 15, all sectors listed in the current Blueprint Activities and Business Tiers Chart may return to usual operations (with the limited exceptions noted below for Mega Events) based on the following general public health recommendations," is stated by the California Department of Public Health. Those recommendations can be found here.
“Speaking for the businesses, we have had plenty of time because we have all known the magic date of June 15th, and now we are one week out and our employers don’t know what the rules are going to be. That is ridiculous,” said Karen Spiegel, part of the Riverside County Board of Supervisors during a meeting Tuesday. Cal/OSHA regulations will be mandatory for employers. Board members expressed their frustration about the situation in the meeting with the lack of guidance as the date fast approaches. “We have heard from Cal/OSHA that they have a proposed set of guidelines that would continue to require masking indoors for workers in most cases, unless everyone in that room is fully vaccinated,” said Dr. Geoffrey Leung, the Riverside County Public Health Officer.
These guidelines would only pertain to employees and would be separate from any guidelines coming from Governor Gavin Newsom. “The governors orders to not expressly interrupt or interfere with Cal/OSHA responsibility to protects employees in the workplace,” said Gregory P. Priamos with Riverside County Board of Supervisors.
Nonetheless, businesses on El Paseo are coming together to celebrate the lighter restrictions on June 15th. The celebration is called "Time to Thrive" happy hour celebration. It will be held from 3 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. Festive balloons will mark the participating restaurants and stores offering 6/15 themed specials with various retail and dining discounts, and/or having individual store celebrations. “We are having lots of entertainment on the street. We are going to bust out with lots of dancing on Lupine plaza with a DJ. We are having some radio remotes. Stores are promoting some specials. We are ready to move on and move forward,” said Elyssa Goldberg, owner of BG's El Paseo and organizer of the celebration.
Goldberg expressed the mark of new beginnings. “I know from my customers, they are excited to be able to go out again with a little bit more freedom, and just celebrate and be happy, smile, show their face, and just move forward," said Goldberg. When asked about Cal/OSHA and mask updates, “I am open to whatever they think is best because of course we all want to stay healthy, we want to be healthy. We don’t want to go backward, we want to go forward,” responded Goldberg.
This celebration on El Paseo is just one way cities are celebrating reopening. Palm Springs will join in festivities and the city of Indio will be celebrating in their own way. "As part of this effort we are reaching out to local businesses with the help of the Indio Chamber of Commerce (Greater CV Chamber) and showcasing them in a series of videos next week on the Discover Indio and Indio Chamber Facebook pages. We hope people continue to celebrate our businesses by shopping and dining locally," said Brooke Beare, the public information officer for the city of Indio.