21/02/2024 8:55 PM


The Queen Of Beauty

Gavin Newsom signals June 15 may not be a return to normal in testy press conference

Despite signaling for weeks that June 15 would mark a return to a pre-pandemic normal in California, Gov. Gavin Newsom suggested otherwise during an often tense Friday press conference.

After announcing the first wave of prizes in the state’s vaccine lottery, Newsom took questions from the state’s political reporters and when addressing three separate policy areas — new workplace mask rules, indoor capacity restrictions and emergency powers — cast doubt on the idea that June 15 would be a return to normalcy (the press conference took a combative turn right from the get-go after the first question from the Sacramento Bee’s Sophia Bollag was about her reporting related to large companies lobbying Newsom and donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to his wife’s nonprofit. Newsom denied any conflict of interest).

On the issue of controversial guidelines from the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (Cal/OSHA) that require all employees to wear masks unless everyone in a given room is fully vaccinated, Newsom seemed to suggest he would not overrule those guidelines via executive order. 

“They’re moving in the right direction and we’ll continue to look forward to the deliberations there at the board, and they’re an independent board, so one has to be mindful of that,” he said.

When the Associated Press’ Adam Beam followed up on whether Newsom would act before the board’s next meeting in August — two months after the June 15 reopening — the governor once again demurred.

“We look forward to working with employers and labor to continue to work through these issues and I appreciated the steps they made to work in the right direction,” he said. “But I’m mindful that this disease has not been extinguished, it hasn’t gone away, and if you’re in a dense workplace with hundreds of other employees, many of them haven’t been vaccinated … we won’t be there. We’re mindful of variants.”

“We’ve never said that we were not going to consider some modifications post June 15, let me specific: We’ve been very forthright in terms of modifications for large indoor settings with a lot of folks from different backgrounds, walks of life, people coming in internationally, et cetera, and mindful of the importance of face coverings, non-pharmaceutical interventions, as well as pharmaceutical interventions around vaccines and testing requirements.”

Newsom was then pressed specifically by Cal Matters’ Laurel Rosenhall on whether any capacity restrictions would linger post June 15 — which would be a reversal of the state announcing at the end of May that all capacity limits would be dropped, even at large events like concerts and sports events.

“So it sounds like some restrictions could still be possible on June 15,” Rosenhall said.

“Well, some restrictions are by definition—,” Newsom replied.

“Capacity restrictions,” Rosenhall clarified.

“On the basis of the information that we’ve made public as it relates to guidelines that’s certainly the case,” the governor said.

The state has yet to issue any guidelines that include capacity restrictions post June 15, and if it did, it would be a reversal of what had previously been promised.

Rosenhall then asked Newsom whether he would rescind his emergency declaration and relinquish his emergency powers, to which he stated that he would not.

“We’re still in a state of emergency,” he said. “This disease has not been extinguished. It’s not vanished, it’s not taking the summer months off.”

The governor stated that additional guidelines would be released in the coming days ahead of June 15. His recall opponents predictably criticized Friday’s remarks.

“California will NOT fully reopen on June 15 as Gavin Newsom had previously indicated,” tweeted former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer. “Other states have been safely open for months, but Newsom refuses to follow the science. It’s time to recall him. “

“In California, we have: One of the highest vaccination rates in the nation, Less than 1000 new cases/day, Relaxed CDC guidance,” tweeted Caitlyn Jenner. “Yet Newsom still refuses to open up. Is this what trusting the science looks like?”

“Is anyone really surprised that @GavinNewsom wants to move the goalposts again?” wrote his 2018 opponent John Cox. “Enough is enough – it’s time to fully reopen our state!”