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Local politicians weigh in on Gov. Newsom's plans to reopen

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There are questions about whether or not it's a political move due to the upcoming recall election.

Video Transcript

WARREN ARMSTRONG: ABC News reporter Jessica Harrington is live in downtown Fresno tonight with reaction from both sides of the aisle and whether or not they believe the move was politically motivated. Jessica?

JESSICA HARRINGTON: Good evening. A light at the end of the tunnel now that there is a potential reopening date on the horizon. Some of our local politicians say that this was long overdue. Others say this was necessary to keep Californians safe.

GAVIN NEWSOM: We'll be getting rid of the blueprint as you know it today. That's on June 15th if we continue the good work.

JESSICA HARRINGTON: Governor Gavin Newsom, making a major announcement Tuesday, signaling a possible end to restrictions across the state of California. The full reopening is contingent on a sufficient vaccine supply and making sure hospitalization rates are stable and low.

If those metrics remain, businesses will be able to fully reopen. Newsom says he's announcing the potential change based on a low case rate across the state. However, there are questions about whether or not it's a political move due to the upcoming recall election.

THOMAS HOLYOKE: So the trends he's citing are real. But he's going to have a little difficulty escaping the idea that this is simply political pandering. And certainly, his opponents can use that against him.

JIM PATTERSON: I think he's responding to a legitimate undercurrent of discontent in the state of California.

JESSICA HARRINGTON: Assembly member Jim Patterson and the Senior Advisor for Recall Gavin Newsom 2020 believe the action could have been taken sooner, citing other states successfully reopening and impact on local businesses.

- The economic damages that were caused by the decisions of this governor will be felt for years.

JESSICA HARRINGTON: Representative Jim Costa disagrees that reopening could have happened sooner. He says the governor had to make unpopular decisions to keep Californians safe.

JIM COSTA: You know, the governor didn't want to shut down the state, nor did any other governor.

JESSICA HARRINGTON: He also says he doesn't believe the announcement to potentially reopen was motivated by politics.

JIM COSTA: Nobody wants to close any state or any community. That's not good politics. He's doing it because health care expert after health care expert around the country and around the world have offered strategies that they know will work against this deadly disease.

JESSICA HARRINGTON: With COVID variants in the state and the Central Valley, political analysts worry an uptick in cases could change Governor Newsom's plans to reopen.

THOMAS HOLYOKE: And locking down the state again after promising to open it up-- that would not go over well with the electorate.

JESSICA HARRINGTON: And our political analyst, who weighed in, says there's also another element that large businesses and schools are likely thinking of. If all restrictions are removed, should they bring everybody back to campus and offices at one time? Or should they keep a phased-in approach?

Of course, that will all be dependent on whether or not we reopen on June 15th. Live in downtown Fresno, Jessica Harrington, ABC 30, Action News.