As Newsom optimistically ticked off the billions being allocated from the state’s $76 billion budget surplus, he was asked if California might emerge from state-imposed Covid restrictions — known as the Blueprint for a Safer Economy — before his self-stated June 15 reopening date.
“We are still on track to get rid of the Blueprint by June 15,” he reported. “As we continue to vaccinate more and more people, it’s on par with our expectations to date,” Newsom continued, but noted vaccine uptake by the public has diminished slightly.
“If we continue to see these [test] positivity rates — 1.1% — the stability, no question, we will get there on or before June 15,” he said. “I’m confident of that.”
MASK UPDATE: Governor Newsom says a meeting is scheduled with his administration, Dr. Mark Ghaly later today to sort out some details on guidance.
What does enforcement look like? How do businesses proceed? These are questions they want to answer.
Overall, still under review.
— Ashley Zavala (@ZavalaA) May 14, 2021
Newsom did acknowledge a wild card thrown into the deck yesterday by the federal government.
“I know these mask guidelines from the CDC have created some anxiety for many — that it may be too soon, too much — and so we’re adjudicating all that,” the governor said.
He was referring to the seemingly contradictory mask announcements from the CDC and the White House yesterday. Of course, the status of masking mandates is a crucial piece of any reopening plan and likewise crucial to such a plan’s timing.
Newsom said he would be meeting with his public health team later on Friday and that Californians should “expect more detailed information this afternoon.” He continued cryptically saying the state’s coming masking guidance “may not be mandatory space, but voluntary space, as well, particularly with these variants.” As with everything else around masking, it’s unclear exactly what that means.
Earlier in the week, the California Governor seemed strident in his assurance that masks were going away for fully-vaccinated residents.
On Tuesday, Newsom was asked by a reporter if there would be a mask mandate after June 15. The usually-loquacious Newsom said quickly, “No.” He then enumerated a few rare circumstances where masks would still be needed.
“Only in those massively large [indoor] settings where people from around the world are convening & people are mixing in real dense spaces. Otherwise…no mandates,” he said.
On Wednesday, the Governor seemed to remove the “massively large” from his indoor prohibition, telling reporters, “For indoor activities we still will have, likely, some mask mandates. But the hope is those will be lifted sooner rather than later.”
The CDC announcement only served to muddle the future of masking further, with Andrew Cuomo added to that, saying on Thursday that he’s not ready to adopt federal calls for limits on mask-wearing for his state’s residents.
Hopefully Newsom’s announcement promised for Friday afternoon will clarify the future for Californians vis a vis masks.
You can watch Newsom’s entire budget announcement below.
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