Whether you like it or not, Governor Gavin Newsom says the statewide stay-at-home orders will likely go well past the current May 3 end date.
If you need a break from the rage, petulance, and willful ignorance of President Trump’s daily histrionic hoedown press briefings, the daily briefings from Governor Gavin Newsom are a breath of fresh air of competence, reason, and complex sentences articulated by an intelligent person. It is no easy task for him to maintain an inspiring tone of leadership acumen while delivering the news, as he did today, that California saw a record 71 COVID-19 deaths on Monday alone, and the state’s positive case count is up to over 25,000. (Though our new infection rate is plummeting, at least for now). And in today’s briefing, embedded in its entirety below, Newsom clarified that the state will not be reopening anytime soon, and the Chronicle details the six ambitious criteria California has to meet before he will allow anything to reopen.
Newsom gave no dates or timelines. "There is no light switch here, it's more like a dimmer," he said in the address. "I know you want the timeline, but we can't get ahead of ourselves and dream of regretting. Let's not make the mistake of pulling the plug too early, as much as we want to."
Should you watch the address, the screen just says “Livestream will begin Shortly” for about the first six minutes. Gavin gets down to business at the 9-minute mark an with insane run-on sentence that only a politician could utter, but explains his six-point plan in a way that that instills confidence in his complex sizing up of the situation:
“The most important framework is our capacity to expand our testing, to appropriately address the tracing and tracking of individuals, the isolation and the quarantine of individuals using technology, and using a workforce that needs to be trained, and an infrastructure that needs to be in place in order to begin the process to transition.”
1. California Governor @GavinNewsom on the process required to re-open the state.— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) April 14, 2020
"There is no light switch here. Think of it as a dimmer. It will toggle between less restrictive and more restrictive."
Here are the six things he (and state health officials) said are required: pic.twitter.com/muRcVtXm2F
Certainly some of that “tracing and tracking” and quarantine technology stuff would normally set off civil liberty alarm bells (and indeed, some churches are already suing Newsom over this). But your main interest right now is when you can leave the house, work normal hours, and do things again. And on that front, Newsom refuses to consider anything until his six-point plan is satisfied.
In light of today’s SF Pride cancellation, Newsom more broadly noted that “the prospect of mass gatherings is negligible at best until we get to herd immunity and get to a vaccine." He added that any new normal, if/when it arrives, will involve masks, glove-wearing, and limited capacities with disposable menus at restaurants, venues, and clubs. Schools will not be able to have normal recess or physical education, and of course, they’re not reopening this academic year.
Newsom was vague with details, but one thing did seem clear. He seems to have formed a pact with Oregon and Washington’s governors, and our three states will probably reopen together. We can’t be 100-percent sure whether this is a middle finger to Trump’s claim that his “authority is total,” or an evidence-based need for state-level coordination (it’s probably both). So we don’t know what day California will return to "normal," but will likely be the same day our neighbors to the north Washington and Oregon do so as well.
Image: California Governor via Facebook