Covid State of Emergency in California to End February 2023
October 20, 2022
California’s Covid-19 state of emergency will end Feb. 28, 2023, nearly three years since its initiation, officials from Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office announced this week.
The announcement came as new variants prompt concerns that there will be another deadly winter surge across the country. More than 95,000 Californians have died because of COVID-19, according to state data.
The state of emergency gave Newsom broad powers to issue masking mandates and stay-at-home orders to slow the spread of the virus. It also enabled the governor to sign contracts for no-bid emergency response with testing facilities, personal protective equipment suppliers and temporary workforce agencies. Some of those contracts were with vendors who failed to deliver services.
This week, 27 provisions from the 74 executive orders issued under the state of emergency remain in effect, officials said. More than 500 provisions have expired.
“The State of Emergency was an effective and necessary tool that we utilized to protect our state, and we wouldn’t have gotten to this point without it,” Newsom said in a statement. “With the operational preparedness that we’ve built up and the measures that we’ll continue to employ moving forward, California is ready to phase out this tool.”
The duration of the state of emergency has been controversial among state Republican leaders who attempted to overturn the governor’s power in March. The Senate resolution to terminate the state of emergency was voted down 8-4, with senators voting along party lines.
In February, the administration unveiled the SMARTER plan, its $3.2 billion long-term strategy for combatting Covid-19. The strategy outlined preparedness measures such as stockpiling 75 million masks, increasing testing capacity to half a million tests per day and investing in the health care workforce and local community health organizations. The SMARTER plan’s rollout has been a key component in eliminating the need for emergency provisions, officials said.
The administration plans on pursuing permanent legislative changes for two temporary provisions allowed under the executive order: allowing nurses to order and administer Covid-19 antiviral treatments like Paxlovid and allowing laboratory assistants to process Covid tests.