upper waypoint

Newsom to End California's COVID State of Emergency in February

Save ArticleSave Article
Failed to save article

Please try again

Gov. Gavin Newsom giving a speech at a podium.
Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a joint climate agreement with other West Coast leaders on Oct. 6, 2022, in San Francisco. (Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

California's COVID-19 emergency will officially end in February as Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state has enough resources and plans to manage the pandemic without the need for a formal declaration that gives the governor the power to suspend or change laws.

His office made the announcement Monday, touting the state's relatively low transmission and hospitalization rates, and saying the delay until next year will give the state’s health care system any flexibility it still needs for a possible winter surge in cases and hospitalizations, and give everyone enough time to prepare for the phaseout.

“Throughout the pandemic, we’ve been guided by the science and data – moving quickly and strategically to save lives. The State of Emergency was an effective and necessary tool that we utilized to protect our state, and we wouldn’t have gotten to this point without it,” Newsom said in a statement. “With the operational preparedness that we’ve built up and the measures that we’ll continue to employ moving forward, California is ready to phase out this tool.”

Related Stories

Newsom declared a state of emergency for the coronavirus on March 4, 2020, shortly after an older adult was the first confirmed death from the disease in California — the first of nearly 95,000 deaths in the state to date.

Since then, Newsom has used his authority under the emergency declaration to issue 596 orders. Some were small, like delaying deadlines for filing taxes or renewing driver's licenses. But others were life-changing, including issuing a statewide stay-at-home order.

“While the threat of this virus is still real, our preparedness and collective work have helped turn this once crisis emergency into a manageable situation," California Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly said in the statement.

Sponsored

After the state of emergency is officially over at the end of February, Newsom’s pandemic-related executive orders will no longer be in effect. But this will largely be a symbolic marker for most residents, as the majority of those orders either have already expired or been lifted. As of October, just 27 of Newsom's orders remain in place, according to the governor's office.

The formal end of the emergency will also not affect public health orders, which are issued and enforced by state and local public health officers. That includes a statewide mandate that schoolchildren be vaccinated against the coronavirus — a requirement that has been delayed until next summer at the earliest.

How ripple effects could affect Bay Area renters and landlords

Still, Newsom's decision could result in very tangible effects for some Bay Area renters and landlords.

While California's statewide eviction moratorium expired at the beginning of September, renter protections remain in place in some cities and counties.

In San Francisco, Alameda County and Oakland, those protections are tied to local states of emergency. If local leaders follow the governor's cue and lift those orders, renters in those cities and counties will once again be subject to eviction for nonpayment of rent related to COVID financial hardships.

Earlier this month, the Los Angeles City Council voted to lift its eviction moratorium starting on February 1.

Meanwhile, Oakland and Alameda County’s eviction moratoriums are facing a court challenge from property owners. A federal judge is expected to determine in the coming weeks whether the lawsuit will move forward.

Newsom says he will ask the state Legislature to put two of his other orders into law, making them permanent. One would continue to allow nurses to order and dispense certain COVID-19 medications, and another would allow laboratory workers to continue processing COVID-19 tests.

The emergency orders issued by Newsom survived a legal challenge from key state Republican leaders. The California Supreme Court last year left in place a lower court’s ruling that the governor acted within his authority.

This story includes reporting by Adam Beam of The Associated Press and KQED's Erika Kelly.

lower waypoint
next waypoint
Despite Warnings, People Are Still Dying While Being Held Face Down By PoliceConfrontation at UC Berkeley Law School Dean's Home Highlights Campus TensionsOakland Officials to Proceed With Controversial Move to Rename AirportRFK’s a Spoiler – But for Which Party?California’s $20 Billion Effort to Combat Homelessness Fails to Curb Rising Unhoused PopulationNew Bill Pushes California to Confront Digital Discrimination‘We Are Sacred’: As Eid Arrives, How Queer Muslims Curate CommunityThe 1st Over-the-Counter Birth Control Pill is Now Available. How Does it Work?Legendary Stanford Women’s Basketball Coach Tara VanDerveer Announces RetirementWho Is Responsible For One of the Largest Internet Hacks Ever?