Democratic Governor of California Gavin Newsom is set to finally end his COVID emergency declaration in the state, but won’t do so until next year — after the order will have been in place for almost three years.
On Monday, the governor announced that the proclamation would end on February 28, which will get rid of the last 27 of almost 600 orders he issued due to the pandemic.
“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,” Newsom said in a statement. “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 this tool.”
“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,” Secretary of the California Health & Human Services Agency Dr. Mark Ghaly said. “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.”
The governor declared a state of emergency over COVID on March 4, 2020, and has said in the past that maintaining the state of emergency was important for California to be able to react to the virus.
The governor’s administration will request that state lawmakers pass legislation to keep permitting nurses to give out COVID treatments, as well as only letting lab employees process COVID tests. Governor Newsom’s office also noted that the reason for ending the declaration in February is to allow the health care industry to be able to keep up with any increases in cases after the holidays.
The governor’s shutdown of the economy over COVID harmed businesses and families as companies and schools were forced to close down. When schools and companies went back to normal life in the Golden State, Newsom kept the directive going, as it is still in place today. Republicans have called out Newsom over extending the declaration, and Republican legislators even requested that lawmakers hold a vote to get rid of the declaration earlier this year.
In pushing for her measure to do so in March, Republican state Senator Melissa Melendez said the legislature should do its job to address COVID, noting, “We ended school years and we shuttered businesses and we implemented lockdowns and we enforced remote work and we implemented all sorts of policies and testing. We have grown over the last few years. We are equipped to deal with this and this constant state of emergency is no longer necessary.”