“The one thing I am certain of is: There’s uncertainty in the future,” said California Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday at an event to pick winners in the state’s lottery-style Covid-19 vaccination incentive program.
Asked if he would, on June 15, lift the state of emergency that has given him the extraordinary powers to mandate such restrictions the governor said, “The emergency remains in effect after June 15.” That date is Newsom’s own self-declared deadline to lift most Covid restrictions.
Asked to explain the reasoning behind the decision Newsom said, “Because we’re still in a state of emergency. This disease is still in effect. It is not taking the summer off.”
The governor indicated he may need those emergency powers in the near future: “Some modifications may need to be in order on the basis of changing conditions.”
Newsom was also pressed repeatedly at the event to clarify what some called the “confusing” recommendation of a CalOSHA board the night before. After a 7-hour public meeting, the board seemed to approve recommending masks be required in the workplace if everyone is not vaccinated. That would leave mask requirements in place past Newsom’s own self-declared June 15 deadline to lift most Covid restrictions. It would also seem to penalize unvaccinated workers. The board set up a subcommittee to further study the issue.
The governor on Friday said he was unable to be definitive about the meaning of the board’s recommendations.
“The dust is settling. They’ve got a subcommittee that’s meeting to follow up on some of the work. They’re moving in the right direction.”
To Californians who thought they were getting the summer off from Covid-19 restrictions who now feel whiplashed by the prospect of continued masking in workplaces Newsom said, “We’re working through this. This is the sausage-making process. We’ve already had a number of conversations earlier this morning about people’s feelings about what happened last night. I think it’s helpful that the governor is not dictating and mandating those decisions in advance…We are in an iterative process of engagement…We hope to let folks know more about our next steps very shortly.”
“Face coverings remain an important part of our arsenal to fight this disease,” reminded Newsom.
Watch the governor’s presentation below.