Governor Newsom Bucks Pressure to Reopen California, Promises Update Tomorrow

COVID-19 Update

As organized protests at the Capitol and elsewhere in California called for reopening the California economy, and as other governors promised business reopenings this week, Governor Newsom made clear he is not yet prepared to relax California’s stay-at-home mandate. At a press conference today, Newsom noted that incidences of COVID-19 remain on the rise in California, with just in the last day deaths rising 5 percent, hospitalizations rising 3.3 percent, ICU admissions rising 3.8 percent and positive test results rising 7.4 percent. “Those numbers went up, not down.”

When asked about California counties that are already acting unilaterally to relax certain closures such as beaches and golf courses, the Governor made clear that the counties are empowered to lessen their restrictions provided they do not violate the provisions of the state’s stay-at-home Executive Order, N-33-20. Manatt has previously advised regarding successively more restrictive county and other local orders and the fact that the most restrictive provisions prevail. That remains true; as counties consider lessening restrictions, they may do so only to the degree they remain at least as strict as the state mandate.

Governor Newsom has called much attention to his press conference tomorrow, Wednesday, April 22, promising a more comprehensive update on the state’s progress toward reopening consistent with the six key health and scientific indicators he announced on April 14. But given his solemn recognition today of ongoing increases in COVID-19 statistics in California, any significant announcement of near-term economic-focused relaxation of restrictions appears unlikely.

Our Manatt professionals continue to monitor these ever-evolving provisions, both at the state level, county and local levels throughout the state.

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