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CA's 'state of emergency' will not delay reopening, officials say

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ABC7 News contributor Phil Matier says by keeping the state of emergency in place, it allows Gavin Newsom and the feds to continue their level of funding and if something unexpected happens to have the power to do something about it.

Video Transcript

- Governor Newsom said today he will not lift California's State of emergency despite being just 11 days from the state's re-opening. ABC'S 7 News reporter Kate Larsen spoke to Bay Area officials about what this means for June 15th.

KATE LARSEN: Governor Newsom was trying to hold a press conference about the state's vaccine lottery winners. But the focus shifted when he said California's state of emergency will remain in place beyond the June 15TH reopening.

GAVIN NEWSOM: This disease has not been extinguished. It's not vanished. It's not taken the summer months off. For all of the reasons I just enunciated, that's why we are not lifting the state of emergency here in the state.

KATE LARSEN: The revelation created confusion about re-opening rules and fueled accusations among many Republicans that Newsom is abusing his power.

JOHN COX: It's unfair. And it's unwise. And Mr. Newsom's on a power trip. And that's the only way I can explain it.

KATE LARSEN: John Cox is a candidate in the Newsom recall election. He did say he'd support Newsom if he used the state of emergency to reject Cal/OSHA's workplace mask rules.

JOHN COX: Well, if he uses his executive power for that, I think I'll agree with him on that one. Because I think it's nonsensical that one unvaccinated person in an entire workplace can make everybody wear a mask.

KATE LARSEN: Some feel Newsom is sending a mixed message by upholding the state of emergency. But health officials in Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo counties say the order will not impact their plans to reopen the economy on June 15th.

DAVID CANEPA: Until the governor tells us that that's not the case, which he probably won't, we are ready to open on June 15th. And we're going to celebrate that day.

PHIL MATIER: Everything about this pandemic has had a political edge.

KATE LARSEN: ABC 7 News contributor Phil Matier says the state of emergency is not about rolling back reopenings.

PHIL MATIER: It's a move that allows Gavin Newsom and the feds to continue their level of funding and, if something unexpected happens, to have the power to do something about it.

KATE LARSEN: Which is what Newsom's press office said in a statement, as well as clarifying that the state "will lift regulations requiring physical distancing, capacity restrictions, and indoors versus outdoors requirements. On June 15th, Governor Newsom is fully reopening the economy." Kate Larsen, ABC7 News.