Newsom: ‘We are not ready’ to reopen CA in ‘pandemic-induced recession’

Gov. Gavin Newsom

After President Donald Trump said governors can decide when to reopen their states, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Friday that California is not ready to ease restrictions and labeled the state’s economy a “pandemic-induced recession.” 

“Let me paint a picture of what’s ahead in terms of our expectations as we not only talk about a roadmap for recovery, but we talk about a strategy to begin to toggle back and forth in terms of our efforts to begin to soften up on our stay at home order: we are not ready to do that yet,” said Newsom during a live state briefing. 

His statement comes just a day after Trump announced a three-phase roadmap that governors could follow as guidelines, but said the decision was up to each governor. 

Earlier this week, Newsom briefly outlined six steps California must meet in order to gradually return to normalcy, which includes increased testing, expanded hospital capacity and support of physical distancing among businesses, schools and child care facilities. 

The state will report specific strategies into the six steps on a weekly basis, starting next Wednesday, Newsom said. 

As some states might decide to reopen, Newsom said travel into California from the outside will be strategically considered. 

“It’s a global pandemic and by definition, we’re about people going from community to community, census tract by census tract, not just state by state. And that has to be very strategically considered as it relates to the next phase,” he said. 

With more than 3 million Californians filing for unemployment, Newsom said the state is in a “pandemic-induced recession.” 

“We have to begin to work through each and every sector of our economy to put together tangible actionable ideas for short-term, medium- and long-term economic recovery,” he said. 

In an effort to lift the economy, Newsom announced the launch of a task force on business and jobs recovery that includes four former California governors: Pete Wilson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gray Davis and Jerry Brown, as part of a panel with more than 80 members that also includes Apple CEO Tim Cook, philanthropist Tom Steyer and Janet Yellen, the former chair of the Federal Reserve. 

“We will try to come up with a recovery plan that is worthy of California’s past and pushes us to a better future, and remedies, some of the injustices, which this COVID-19 pandemic have revealed in our society,” said Steyer during the live briefing. 

Newsom reminded the public that as the state prepares for its recovery plan, “I cannot encourage you more to maintain our social distancing and continue to practice the physical distancing.” 

The curve has “begun to flatten, but again, it’s not moving in the direction that we are ready to ultimately celebrate,” he added. 

On Thursday, California saw its highest single-day death toll with 95 new deaths, which brought the total to 985 COVID-19 related deaths. ICU hospitalizations decreased to 1.4%, while overall coronavirus-related hospitalizations increased by 1.2%. 

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