CONCORD (KPIX) -- On Thursday, Governor Gavin Newsom is expected to lay out the next steps in the state's pandemic recovery as officials transition "from reacting to a pandemic to living with COVID-19."
According to a release issued by the governor's office Wednesday, the plan will be "the first of its kind to ensure the state, communities and individuals have the tools they need to protect themselves" while preparing for what lies ahead.
The plan will "focus on keeping schools and businesses open and safe," the release said.
"Lessons learned and preparations made over the last two years will help Californians through this next phase," the release added.
While the Governor's official announcement will come Thursday, many Californians were already experiencing what life will be like without masks as the mandate officially lifted.
At Todos Santos Plaza in Concord, many people were still wearing their masks even outdoors. For some, they're not quite ready to take it off yet.
"Personally, I think it's a little too soon for the mask to go off," said Contra Costa County resident Alma Gonzalez.
Gonzalez and her family were spending time at the park with their masks on. She remains cautious. Her husband recently got sick with COVID.
"My husband got hospitalized for three days because he got COVID, followed by pneumonia," she explained.
An overwhelming majority of people out had their masks on. Employees and customers at a Concord dessert shop were all masked up. Even those walking to their cars outdoors had a face covering.
"I still don't feel safe still," said Contra Costa County resident Denise Martinez.
At Aung Burma Restaurant, employees are being encouraged to wear their masks. Masking is completely optional for customers.
"Actually, 100% of our customers have been wearing them," said Aung Burma manager Jenny Phyl.
But some people are glad they now have a choice. Solano County resident J.J. Wilbert has one on hand depending on how others around him feel.
"I kind of read the room a little bit. See what everybody else is doing and go with the flow," said Wilbert.
State health officials said with declining case numbers, it was time to lift the mask mandate. Some feel it was way overdue.
"For me it's a spiritual thing. Freedom, no more lockdowns and I like it," said an East Bay resident who gave his name as Matt.
Masking indoors is still required for those that are unvaccinated, but in Contra Costa County, businesses are no longer required to check proof of vaccination.
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