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Gov. Gavin Newsom said he plans to take action in February to end the COVID-19 state of emergency in California that he initially declared in 2020.
The governor declared the state of emergency in the early days of the pandemic in order to waive state regulations and statutes and to redirect funds to rapidly respond to the public health crisis. Republicans have criticized Newsom’s decision to keep the declaration in place for so long, calling it an unnecessary abuse of his executive powers.
“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.”
Newsom’s office said the dramatic decline in deaths and hospitalizations over time has given him confidence to call off the COVID-19 state of emergency on Feb. 28, three years after he made the declaration. The timeline should give the healthcare system flexibility to respond to any winter surges of the virus as a result of more indoor gatherings over the holidays, his office said.