Gavin Newsom Announces Timeline To End Parts Of Covid-Related Executive Orders, But Not State Of Emergency

On Friday morning, California Governor Gavin Newsom promised he would be releasing “details of our efforts to wind down all these executive orders.” Several hours later, he did just that.

Newsom announced action to lift pandemic executive orders as the state moves Beyond the Blueprint next week to reopen. “That includes terminating the Stay-at-Home Order that was implemented early in the pandemic to protect Californians and retiring the Blueprint for a Safer Economy,” the governor wrote. “Effective June 15, restrictions such as physical distancing, capacity limits and the county tier system will end.”

The governor said, however, that a “subset of provisions that facilitate the ongoing recovery – such as the provision allowing pharmacy technicians to administer vaccinations…will remain in place.”

Why?

“The termination of certain provisions of my Covid-19 related Executive Orders during this stage of the emergency would compound the effects of the emergency and impede the State’s recovery by disrupting important governmental and social functions,” wrote the governor.

That means that the State of Emergency which gives Newsom the power to issue such orders will likely remain in place. That declaration has become increasingly controversial of late, with three California lawmakers threatening to end it if Newsom does not. Newsom countered by pointing out that the State of Emergency related to several long-snuffed California wildfires remains in effect even now to aid with recovery.

The governor’s order ends specific provisions of 34 executive orders by June 30, 2021. It does not, apparently end those executive orders entirely. Provisions of another four executive orders are dropped on July 31, 2021. Another 22 orders are set to be amended by September 30, 2021, with two being eliminated entirely.

“California is turning the page on this pandemic,” wrote Newsom in his announcement. “We are lifting the orders that impact Californians on a day-to-day basis while remaining vigilant to protect public health and safety as the pandemic persists.”

The governor went on to maintain that the state’s “decisive and early action” helped slow the spread of the virus, saved lives and protected the state’s health care system from being overwhelmed. But with about 55% of California residents fully vaccinated, Newsom said it was time to enter “a new phase.”

So the Governor’s Office announced it has established a timeline to wind down the various provisions of the 58 COVID-related executive orders, which suspended statutes and regulations to help the state and businesses continue operations during the pandemic. To ensure that impacted individuals and entities have time to prepare for the changes, the provisions will sunset in phases, beginning later this month, in July and in September.

For example, the suspension of certain licensing requirements for manufacturers to produce hand sanitizer will end on June 30, as shortages are no longer a concern. By the end of September, nearly 90 percent of the executive actions taken since March 2020 will have been lifted.

The California Department of Public Health also released a new state public health officer order on Friday that goes into effect on June 15. The order replaces the previous pandemic public health orders with limited requirements related to face coverings and mega events, as well as settings with children and youth pending an expected update later this month to the K-12 school guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The action supports the full and safe reopening of the state, while maintaining focused public health requirements that address the risk posed by variants as some regions across the nation and world continue to experience high levels of transmission.

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