California urges power conservation in heat wave, prices soar

(Reuters) – U.S. power prices for Wednesday jumped as homes and businesses crank up air conditioners to escape another heat wave, prompting the California electric grid operator to urge conservation.

The United States has been beset by extreme weather events this year, including February’s freeze in Texas that knocked out power to millions and record heat in the Pacific Northwest this summer.

High temperatures were expected to reach 102 degrees Fahrenheit (39 degrees Celsius) on Friday in Portland, Oregon, where the normal high is just 80 degrees F (27 C) at this time of year, according to AccuWeather.

Meteorologists also forecast hotter-than-normal weather in Central California, which is used to temperatures over 100 F (38 C).

The California ISO, the grid operator for most of the state, issued a flex alert urging consumers to conserve electricity Wednesday evening to reduce strain on the grid and avoid outages when solar power stops working as the sun goes.

Last August, a heat wave forced California utilities to impose rotating blackouts that left over 400,000 customers without power for up to 2-1/2 hours when supplies ran short.

Next-day power prices for Wednesday more than doubled to $198 per megawatt hour at the Mid Columbia hub in Washington. In 2020, the hub averaged $26.

The California ISO forecast power demand would peak at 41,579 megawatts (MW) on Wednesday before easing to 41,483 MW on Thursday. That is below July 9th’s peak for the year of 43,193 MW and the all-time high of 50,270 MW in July 2006.

One megawatt can power about 200 homes in the summer.

The ISO has said it expects to have about 50,734 MW of supply available this summer, but some of that is solar, which is not available when the sun sets.

The ISO had 14,628 MW of solar capacity in June that produced a record 13,205 MW in May.

(Reporting by Scott DiSavino; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

New York City, California mandate COVID-19 vaccines for government workers

By Gabriella Borter and Maria Caspani

NEW YORK (Reuters) – California and New York City will require government workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or be regularly tested for the virus, officials said on Monday, signaling a new level of urgency in their effort to stem a wave of infections caused by the Delta variant.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Monday that the city would require its more than 300,000 employees to get vaccinated by Sept. 13 or else get tested weekly. His announcement came a week after the city passed a vaccine mandate for all healthcare workers at city-run hospitals and clinics.

A few hours later, California Governor Gavin Newsom said that all state employees, some 246,000 people, would be required to get vaccinated starting in August or else be subjected to COVID-19 testing on a minimum weekly basis.

“We’re at a point now in this pandemic where an individual’s choice to not get vaccinated is impacting the rest of us,” Newsom told a press conference on Monday.

Federal and local officials have been warning about a rise in COVID-19 cases with increasing urgency in recent weeks. Across the country, many have aggressively emphasized the importance of getting vaccinated – including some Republican leaders who previously refrained from openly endorsing the vaccines.

On Monday, the Department of Veterans Affairs became the first federal agency to require its employees to get vaccinated.

The mandates this week mark the boldest efforts yet by government agencies to curb the country’s outbreak caused by the highly transmissible Delta variant of COVID-19, which was first found in India earlier this year.

The Delta variant has quickly caused case numbers to spike after the United States enjoyed a drop-off in cases and hospitalizations when vaccines became widely available in the spring.

The Delta variant has also delayed any consideration by the United States to lift existing travel restrictions in the near future, a White House official told Reuters.

At this point, the sharpest increases in COVID-19 cases are in places with lower vaccination rates. Florida, Texas and Missouri account for 40% of all new cases nationwide, with around one in five of all new U.S. cases occurring in Florida, White House adviser Jeffrey Zients said last week.

Just under 50% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The number of vaccine doses administered daily peaked at 4.63 million on April 10, according to CDC data, and it has stagnated and declined since.

On Sunday, the CDC reported an uptick in the number of vaccine doses administered in a day – 778,996, the most given in a 24-hour period since the United States reported giving 1.16 million doses on July 3.

MANDATE RESISTANCE

COVID-19 vaccine and testing mandates remain a point of contention and have already sparked legal opposition in the case of public universities. Opponents see them as a violation of individual rights.

But officials have justified them because the vaccines have proven to be safe and dramatically reduce people’s risk of hospitalization and death from the virus.

Some 57 medical associations on Monday published a statement calling for all healthcare and long-term care employers in the United States to require their employees to get vaccinated, calling it “the logical fulfillment of the ethical commitment of all healthcare workers to put patients as well as residents of long-term care facilities first.”

New York City’s largest public employee union, DC 37, took legal issue with the city’s mandate on Monday.

“If City Hall intends to test our members weekly, they must first meet us at the table to bargain. While we encourage everyone to get vaccinated and support measures to ensure our members’ health and wellbeing, weekly testing is clearly subject to mandatory bargaining,” Executive Director Henry Garrido said in a statement.

De Blasio cited the Delta variant as the city’s reason for moving beyond promoting voluntary vaccination.

“It was one thing to start with a heavy voluntary focus in the beginning and then incentive focus, but it’s quite clear the Delta variant has changed the game,” he said.

(Reporting by Gabriella Borter, Maria Caspani, Jan Wolfe and David Shepardson; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

Oregon wildfire displaces 2,000 residents as blazes flare across U.S. West

By Deborah Bloom

KLAMATH FALLS, Oregon (Reuters) -Hand crews backed by water-dropping helicopters struggled on Thursday to suppress a huge wildfire that displaced roughly 2,000 residents in southern Oregon, the largest among dozens of blazes raging across the drought-stricken western United States.

The Bootleg fire has charred more than 227,000 acres (91,860 hectares) of desiccated timber and brush in and around the Fremont-Winema National Forest since erupting on July 6 about 250 miles (400 km) south of Portland.

That total, exceeding the land mass of New York City, was 12,000 acres higher than Wednesday’s tally. Strike teams have carved containment lines around 7% of the fire’s perimeter, up from 5% a day earlier, but Incident Commander Joe Hessel said the blaze would continue to expand.

“The extremely dry vegetation and weather are not in our favor,” Hessel said on Twitter.

More than 1,700 firefighters and a dozen helicopters were assigned to the blaze, with demand for personnel and equipment across the Pacific Northwest beginning to strain available resources, said Jim Gersbach, a spokesman for the Oregon Department of Forestry.

“It’s uncommon for us to reach this level of demand on firefighting resources this early” in the season, he said.

Firefighter Garrett Souza, 42, a resident of the nearby town of Chiloquin, said Wednesday he and his team spent 39 hours straight on the “initial attack” of the fire last week.

“It’s the cumulative fatigue that really, I think, wears a person out over time,” he told Reuters, as he took a break from hacking at hotspots in the burn area.

No serious injuries have been linked to the Bootleg fire, officials said, but it has destroyed at least 21 homes and 54 other structures, and forced an estimated 2,000 people from several hundred dwellings placed under evacuation. Nearly 2,000 homes were threatened.

LARGEST OF MANY WILDFIRES

The Bootleg ranks as the largest by far of 70 major active wildfires listed on Thursday as having affected nearly 1 million acres in 11 states, the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, reported. It was also the sixth-largest on record in Oregon since 1900, according to state forestry figures.

Other states hard hit by the latest spate of wildfires include California, Idaho, Montana and Alaska.

As of Wednesday, the center in Boise put its “national wildland fire preparedness level” at 5, the highest of its five-tier scale, meaning most U.S. firefighting resources are currently deployed somewhere across the country.

The situation represents an unusually busy start to the annual fire season, coming amid extremely dry conditions and record-breaking heat that has baked much of the West in recent weeks.

Scientists have said the growing frequency and intensity of wildfires are largely attributable to prolonged drought that is symptomatic of climate change.

One newly ignited blaze drawing attention on Thursday was the Dixie fire, which erupted on Wednesday in Butte County, California, near the mountain town of Paradise, still rebuilding from a 2018 firestorm that killed 85 people and destroyed nearly 19,000 structures in the state’s deadliest wildfire disaster.

The Dixie fire has charred about 2,250 acres (910 hectares) in its first 24 hours as some 500 personnel battled the blaze, which was spreading across a steep, rocky tree-filled terrain about 85 miles (140 km) north of Sacramento.

Erik Wegner of the U.S. Forest Service said dense stands of dead and dying trees created highly combustible conditions for the blaze. “It took off really fast,” he told Reuters.

Authorities have issued evacuation orders and warnings for several small communities in the area.

In Washington state, firefighters have contained about 20% of a lightning-caused fire near Nespelem, which has burned nearly 23,000 acres (9,270 hectares) northeast of Seattle since Monday, mostly on tribal lands of the Colville Reservation.

There were no injuries, but the blaze killed some livestock, destroyed three houses and forced evacuations of several others, officials said.

(Reporting by Deborah Bloom in Klamath Falls, Oregon; Additional reporting by David Ryder in Nespelem, Washington, and Mathieu Lewis Rolland in Butte County, California; Writing and additional reporting by Peter Szekely and Steve Gorman; Editing by David Gregorio, Daniel Wallis and Chris Reese)

Brutal heat wave persists in U.S. West as Oregon wildfire rages

(Reuters) – A punishing heat wave was again forecast to bring near-record temperatures to much of the U.S. West on Monday, as a wildfire in drought-stricken Oregon continued raging out of control.

The agency that manages California’s power grid, the California Independent System Operator, issued a “flex alert” urging residents to conserve power between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. local time on Monday, after the Bootleg Fire in Oregon disrupted electric transmission lines.

The fire had burned through more than 153,000 acres (nearly 240 square miles) as of Monday morning, mostly in Oregon’s Fremont-Winema National Forest.

Hundreds of residents in the Klamath Falls area are under mandatory evacuation orders, and the Klamath County Sheriff’s Department has begun issuing citations and will consider the unusual step of making arrests if necessary people to enforce them, county officials said.

Other states have also confronted fires amid the heat. In California along the Nevada border, the Beckwourth Complex Fire had grown to around 89,600 acres (140 square miles) as of Monday morning, with approximately 23% containment, according to the state’s fire incident reporting system.

The National Weather Service predicted additional record highs on Monday in some areas, a day after Death Valley, California, hit a scorching 130 degrees Fahrenheit (54 Celsius), one of the highest temperatures ever recorded on Earth.

But forecasters said the intense heat had likely peaked across much of the region, ahead of more seasonable temperatures later this week.

(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Aurora Ellis)

Everything you need to know about California’s recall election

By Sharon Bernstein

(Reuters) – On Sept. 14, Californians will vote on whether popular Democrat Gavin Newsom should be removed as governor. While Newsom retains support among most voters, the recall process may give his opponents in the Republican-backed challenge an edge they would not have in a typical election.

Here’s what you need to know.

What are the rules?

Opponents of a sitting governor petitioning to hold a recall election need signatures from the equivalent of 12 percent of the votes cast in the most recent gubernatorial election. In this case that was 1,495,709 signatures.

Voters decide whether they want to remove the sitting governor and then on the same ballot choose a replacement. If more than 50% choose to end Newsom’s term, the replacement candidate with the most votes to succeed him, even if less than a majority, becomes governor.

Who’s behind the effort to recall Newsom?

A former sheriff’s deputy named Orrin Heatlie and a group called the California Patriot Coalition began the recall campaign in February 2020, accusing Newsom of favoring illegal immigrants over U.S. citizens. They also complain that taxes are too high and that Newsom favored rationing water, an apparent reference to regulations during the state’s frequent droughts.

Pundits initially said the group was unlikely to gather enough signatures. But a judge in Sacramento ruled recall proponents could have extra time because of delays caused by coronavirus restrictions. That allowed the group to continue seeking signatures as frustration with some coronavirus-related shutdowns grew. And recalling Newsom was embraced by state and national Republicans and conservative media.

Could Newsom be recalled?

Newsom, a former San Francisco mayor and California lieutenant governor, was elected in 2018 with 62% of the vote, a greater share than any other Democratic governor in the state’s history. His opponent, Republican John Cox, garnered about 38% of the vote. A survey released in May by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) showed that six in 10 Californians would vote to keep him in office if a recall election were held, while four in 10 would not.

Republicans have a chance. By law, Newsom is not allowed to appear on the second part of the ballot as a replacement for himself. So far, only Republicans have expressed interest in replacing him. A Democrat could jump in, but Newsom’s team fears that could make the governor more vulnerable.

Who is seeking to replace Newsom?

While the state has not yet certified any official candidates, several Republicans are campaigning, including Cox, former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and transgender celebrity Caitlin Jenner.

(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein. Editing by Donna Bryson and Steve Orlofsky)

U.S. Supreme Court invalidates California charity donor disclosure

By Lawrence Hurley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday backed two conservative nonprofit groups that challenged California’s requirement that tax-exempt charities provide the state the identities of top financial donors – a decision that could imperil some political donor disclosure laws and buttress “dark money” donations.

The justices, in a 6-3 ruling, sided with the Americans for Prosperity Foundation and the Thomas More Law Center in finding that the California attorney general’s policy, in place for the past decade, violates the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and association.

The court’s conservatives were in the majority, with its liberal members dissenting, just as they were in the other decision on their final day of rulings for their current nine-month term. In the other case, the court upheld Republican-backed ballot curbs in Arizona in a ruling that makes it earlier for states to enact voting restrictions.

Democratic-governed California, the most populous U.S. state, had said the donor information is required as part of the state attorney general’s duty to prevent charitable fraud.

“We are left to conclude that the Attorney General’s disclosure requirement imposes a widespread burden on donors’ associational rights,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the ruling.

The state’s interest in “amassing sensitive information for its own convenience is weak,” Roberts added.

The Thomas More Law Center is a conservative Catholic legal group. The Americans for Prosperity Foundation, which funds education and training on conservative issues, is the sister organization of Americans for Prosperity, a conservative political advocacy group – both founded by conservative billionaire businessman Charles Koch and his late brother David.

“Stripping our office of confidential access to donor information – the same information about major donors that charities already provide to the federal government – will make it harder for the state to fight fraud and prevent the misuse of charitable contributions,” California’s Democratic Attorney General Rob Bonta said.

Americans for Prosperity Foundation CEO Emily Seidel said the ruling “protects Americans from being forced to choose between staying safe or speaking up,” alluding to her group’s concerns that donors could face threats if their identities become public.

‘A BULL’S-EYE’

The decision could make it easier for groups to withhold donor identities in other contexts, allowing for the entrenchment of untraceable “dark money” political donations that shield the identity of the donor.

The Supreme Court in the past has been hostile to political campaign finance restrictions – it ruled in 2010 that corporations and other outside groups could spend unlimited funds in elections – but had upheld disclosure requirements.

Liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in a dissenting opinion that the court has reversed this previous approach.

“Today’s analysis marks reporting and disclosure requirements with a bull’s-eye. Regulated entities who wish to avoid their obligations can do so by vaguely waving toward First Amendment ‘privacy concerns,'” Sotomayor wrote.

Sotomayor said the court struck down the requirement without any evidence that donors would face negative consequences if their identities become public.

University of California, Irvine School of Law election law expert Rick Hasen wrote on his blog that the ruling will make it “much harder to sustain campaign finance disclosure laws going forward.”

Democratic congressional leaders fumed. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called the decision “jaw-dropping” and said it will make it “much harder to expose the evils of dark money in our political system.”

California required charities to provide a copy of the tax form they file with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service listing donors who contribute big amounts of money. Larger groups had to disclose donors who contributed $200,000 or more in any year. That information was not posted online and was kept confidential but some had become public.

The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2018 reversed a judge’s ruling in favor of the groups, prompting the appeal to the Supreme Court, which heard arguments in March.

Some congressional Democrats had urged conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who was part of the majority in the ruling, not to participate in the case because Americans for Prosperity spent money last year to support her Senate confirmation to the court.

The two groups that challenged California’s mandate were backed by nonprofit organizations spanning the ideological spectrum. Liberal groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, had urged a narrower ruling against California.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham)

California launches digital COVID-19 vaccine pass but won’t require it

By Paresh Dave

OAKLAND, Calif. (Reuters) – California officials on Friday unveiled a website to access a digital copy of COVID-19 immunization records, though they stressed the U.S. state would not make it mandatory to carry the vaccine credentials.

Businesses will be able to verify digital “vaccine cards” by scanning a QR code on them using an app expected to launch this month. The nearly 20 million immunized Californians can access their data at myvaccinerecord.cdph.ca.gov.

“This is no different from someone’s vaccine records,” said California State Epidemiologist Dr. Erica Pan. “It’s an optional tool to use.”

California opened up from COVID-19 restrictions on Tuesday, with masks, social distancing and capacity limits no longer required at most venues for those who are vaccinated. But businesses are largely operating on the honor system and not “carding” people.

Other states have barred proof of vaccination as an entry requirement at shops and offices, calling such restrictions an intrusion on civil liberties including privacy.

California’s technology department developed the new website using technology known as Smart Health Cards, which originated at Boston Children’s Hospital. Walmart Inc this week also adopted Smart to enable people who got vaccinated at its stores to have an e-pass.

The approach contrasts with New York state, which paid IBM to develop a vaccine records app called Excelsior Pass as well as companion app for verifying passes. Over a million people had downloaded their records onto New York’s app, but few businesses have required it for entry.

California’s Los Angeles County has offered digital COVID-19 vaccine records for months through startup Healthvana. Millions of users have taken advantage, said Healthvana Chief Executive Ramin Bastani.

Users may experience glitches with California’s new systems, because names, birthdates or contact information could have been entered incorrectly at time of immunization.

(Reporting by Paresh Dave; Editing by David Gregorio)

Drought spreads in key U.S. crop states

By Karl Plume

(Reuters) – A harsh drought grew more severe across major parts of the U.S. farm belt this week, threatening recently planted corn, soybean and spring wheat crops in Iowa, Minnesota and the Dakotas, meteorologists and climatologists said on Thursday.

Rains forecast for the northern Midwest and Great Plains this weekend and next week will bring relief to some areas. But the severe moisture deficits suggest crop yields in key U.S. production areas remain at risk.

Drought has already scorched much of the U.S. West, prompting farmers in California to leave fields fallow and triggering water and energy rationing in several states.

Crop development in the central U.S. is highly watched this year as grain and oilseed prices hover around the highest in a nearly a decade and global supplies tighten.

“It’s certainly causing some stress there, especially to the spring wheat,” said Don Keeney, senior agricultural meteorologist with Maxar Technologies.

About 41% of Iowa, the nation’s top corn producer and No. 2 soybean state, was under severe drought as of Tuesday, up from less than 10% a week earlier, according to the weekly U.S. drought monitor published on Thursday.

Cooler weather this weekend and some rain through next week will bring some relief to crops in the western Corn Belt, although far northern areas may see less rain.

“Montana, Nebraska, Minnesota and even northern Iowa would still be a little shortchanged, especially the Dakotas,” Keeney said.

Conditions in North Dakota, the top producer of high-protein spring wheat that is used in bread and pizza dough, remained dire, with about two-thirds of the state under extreme or exceptional drought, the most severe categories.

October to April was the driest stretch in North Dakota history since record keeping began 127 years ago, Gov. Doug Burgum told a town hall meeting in Washburn, North Dakota, on Wednesday.

“We know that we’ve got a full-blown crisis in the state,” Burgum told the meeting.

More than 100,000 acres, or 156 square miles, of North Dakota have already burned in wildfires this year, up from about 12,000 for the entire fire season last year, Burgum said.

Farmer and North Dakota Grain Growers Association Director Cale Neshem called the heat and dryness a “double whammy” that will slash his wheat harvest.

“There’s not going to be much there,” he said.

Drought in the western Corn Belt has already likely trimmed the U.S. corn yield average by 2 to 4 bushels per acre, said Dan Basse, president of AgResource Co in Chicago.

However, conditions in July and August, critical months for corn and soybeans, respectively, will determine the extent of yield losses and the price response, he said.

Grain and soybean futures on the Chicago Board of Trade fell sharply on Thursday as rain in the near-term forecast triggered risk-off selling.

“If we don’t get the rain, it’s going to be something to behold on the upside (for prices) because the yields will fall off the table,” Basse said.

(Reporting by Karl Plume, Tom Polansek and Julie Ingwersen in Chicago; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

Texas, California call for power restraint during heatwave

(Reuters) -Texas and California urged consumers to conserve energy this week to reduce stress on the grid and avoid outages as homes and businesses crank up air conditioners to escape a scorching heatwave blanketing the U.S. Southwest.

High temperatures were expected to top 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 Celsius) through the weekend in parts of several states including California, Arizona and Nevada.

“The public’s help is essential when extreme weather or other factors beyond our control put undue stress on the electric grid,” said Elliot Mainzer, chief executive of the California ISO, which operates the grid in most of California.

Over the past year, Texas and California imposed rotating or controlled outages to prevent more widespread collapses of their power systems – California during a heatwave in August 2020 and Texas during a brutal freeze in February 2021.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the state’s grid operator, expects Thursday’s demand to break the June record set on Monday. In February, ERCOT imposed rotating outages as extreme cold froze natural gas pipes and wind turbines, leaving millions of customers without power – some for days.

ERCOT has been under fire for the design of its system, which is not connected to other U.S. grids to avoid federal oversight, and because they do not operate a “capacity” market that keeps power generation on stand-by during extreme weather events.

The California ISO said its Flex Alert, or call for conservation, “is critical because when temperatures hit triple digits across a wide geographic area, no state has enough energy to meet all the heightened demand.”

The ISO said evening is the most difficult time of day because demand remains high but solar energy diminishes. So far this year, solar has provided 22% of the grid’s power.

Real-time prices in ERCOT have remained below $100 per megawatt hour (MWh) since Tuesday evening as more power plants returned to service from forced outages that caused prices to soar over $1,900 for two 15-minute periods on Monday.

(Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Edmund Blair)

Explainer: California reopens, mostly, on Tuesday

By Jane Lanhee Lee

OAKLAND, Calif. (Reuters) – California is opening up from COVID-19 restrictions on Tuesday, but tech companies and other offices are not changing as fast as Disneyland, gyms and stores.

Here is what is changing for California offices, and what is not.

WHAT IS GETTING EASIER?

Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order to reopen the state on June 15, a decision ending physical distancing, mask requirements and capacity limits for restaurants, stores and other businesses that cater to consumers.

The state health department is requiring the continued wearing of masks in a few places, such as public transit and healthcare settings. Indoor concerts and events with more than 5,000 attendees will be required to confirm proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 results.

HOW ABOUT OFFICES?

Workplace rules are dictated by the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board, which has debated keeping restrictions in place longer than the governor. Under the newest proposal, which will be voted on June 17, fully vaccinated office workers will not need to wear a mask in normal circumstances. However, businesses would have to confirm a person has been vaccinated before taking off a mask in an office, and some businesses have been reluctant to ask.

WHAT IS BIG TECH DOING?

Tech companies in Silicon Valley, which were among the first to go fully remote during the pandemic, are treading carefully. Many are waiting until after the Labor Day holiday, on Sept. 7, or even until 2022, to reopen offices fully.

While some like Twitter Inc have given employees the option to never return to the office, others like Alphabet Inc’s Google and Facebook Inc are allowing some employees to go remote permanently while setting minimum requirements for in-office work by many employees.

Apple is requiring workers return to the office on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from early September.

Many companies are also giving on-site employees the option to work remotely for several weeks a year.

Collaboration-app firm Slack Technology Inc’s latest survey released on Tuesday showed 93% of about 10,000 workers surveyed said they want flexibility in when they work.

Slack executive Brian Elliott said many employees want a set time during the day to collaborate but the ability to work other hours on their own terms. The survey also showed 21% were likely to jump to a new company in the next year and over half are looking, making flexibility a more important component for attracting or retaining employees.

DO COMPANIES HAVE A CHOICE?

Businesses such as restaurants can require vaccine verification or negative COVID-19 tests. Newsom said on Monday the state later this week would be announcing more about a digital version of the vaccine card issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

San Francisco’s first major conference in reopened California will be Dreamforce, an annual event by sales software company Salesforce.Com Inc, which drew over 171,000 registered attendees in 2019.

The conference this year, which will be both virtual and in person, is scheduled for Sept. 21-23, in cities including San Francisco, New York, Paris and London. Salesforce said those attending in person will be required to be fully vaccinated, in line with state regulations.

(Reporting by Jane Lanhee Lee; Additional reporting by Stephen Nellis and Paresh Dave; Editing by Leslie Adler and Bill Berkrot)