Gov. Gavin Newsom will discontinue the COVID-19 state of emergency order implemented in 2020, according to a report issued by the governor’s office on October 17, 2022, reported the Los Angeles Times Oct. 17.
The State of Emergency gave Newsom broad powers to respond to the pandemic. It allowed him to issue masking and vaccination mandates as well as temporary stay-at-home orders. It also allowed him to enter into billions of dollars worth of emergency response contracts, bypassing the usual bidding process. The State of Emergency will phase out on February 28, 2023. According to information released by the governor’s office, the timeline will give “the health care system needed flexibility to handle any potential surge that may occur after the holidays …” It also stated that the timeline will give “state and local partners” time to prep for phasing out of the state of emergency successfully.
The SMARTER Plan—an acronym that stands for Shots, Masks, Awareness, Readiness, Testing, Education, Rx—will remain in place to continue to assist the state in its efforts to keep the virus at bay.
“Throughout the pandemic, we’ve been guided by the science and data moving quickly and strategically to save lives. The State of Emergency was an effective and necessary tool that we utilized to protect our state, and we wouldn’t have gotten to this point without it,” said Gov. Newsom. “With the operational preparedness that we’ve built up and the measures that we’ll continue to employ moving forward, California is ready to phase out of this tool.”
B. Raheem Ballard, a resident of San Quentin, says he is content with the Governor’s decision.
“For someone who has been through one of the worst pandemic situations in California’s prison history, I’m alright with Governor Newsom’s decision to scale back COVID-19 restrictions. Our lives have been so restricted: this whole thing of having to be covered up every place you go, restrictions on how we are housed and how we eat. I’m glad he’s bringing [the State of Emergency] to a close, because COVID is not going anywhere. We could stay in this hyper-cautious state all the time, but when would it end?” Ballard said.
“I applaud him over the last couple of years for being transparent and pro-active in handling this nightmare—one that seems to be coming to an end.”
Newsom’s office said that the state’s 81 million vaccinations over the course of three years lead to dramatic reductions in hospitalizations and deaths.
With mitigation measures such as vaccines and boosters, testing and treatments, masking and indoor ventilation, the Governor believes that the tools the state has will assist it in continuing to fight the pandemic once the State of Emergency ends in February.
“California’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has prepared us for whatever comes next. As we move into this next phase, the infrastructure and processes we’ve invested in and built up will provide us the tools to manage any ups and downs in the future,” said Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency, Dr. Mark Ghaly. “While the threat of this virus is still real, our preparedness and collective work have helped turn this once crisis emergency into a manageable situation.