Newsom calls on Californians to volunteer, addresses local government restrictions

Gov. Gavin Newsom
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Gov. Gavin Newsom called on all Californians who can to volunteer via a new state initiative during the coronavirus crisis while clarifying that local governments have the option to ease restrictions so long as they don’t interfere with the statewide stay-at-home directive. 

While still emphasizing the importance of remaining at home, the state launched on Tuesday “Californians for All” to organize volunteers and connect them to places where they can support food banks and shelters, donate blood, support nonprofits, check in on neighbors and deliver meals to older adults in need. 

For those who want to volunteer but stay home can sign up to be a 2-1-1 operator. 

“We are asking all Californians who are healthy to stand up, to step up and to help connect and make a difference in your community,” said Josh Fryday, California chief service officer, during a live state briefing on Tuesday. 

When signing up through californiaforall.ca.gov, users will be asked to fill out a form and provide the type of volunteer service one would like to offer, as well as what languages one speaks and to identify any special skills, such as accounting and translation. 

Reopening the state 

Newsom said he would provide a detailed update on Wednesday for a look into incrementally lifting California’s stay-at-home orders. 

“It was the purpose of last week’s announcement around our roadmap to reopening. Remember, just last week, we put out that roadmap, perhaps the first state to do so in a comprehensive way. We committed to you and others that we will update you minimum on a weekly basis,” he said.  

His statement comes after responding to a question about how some California counties have recently reopened nonessential businesses and beaches, such as in Ventura County, Placerville and San Luis Obispo. 

Local areas can lift restrictions, Newsom said, “As long as they don’t intervene or conflict with the state guidance. If they do, they do not have the authority to do that.”

In Santa Clarita, there are no new reopenings as the city abides by the guidelines issued by Los Angeles County, which has established a safer-at-home order through May 15 as well as closure of all nonessential businesses, park facilities and trails. 

While Santa Clarita follows county protocols, the city can still make its own decisions on city-owned locations and services. 

Mayor Cameron Smyth said Monday during a Zoom conference that the city has “made the choice to keep our city parks open because the importance of having the ability to go outside and exercise and get some fresh air is a key part of your mental health through this.” 

Still, he added, open parks do not mean residents can congregate in large groups for a soccer game. 

“You still can use those facilities in that small cohort of your family and (remember) that social distancing is still required,” he said. 

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