May 7, 2020
Governor Gavin Newsom California COVID-19 Briefing Transcript May 7
Governor of California Gavin Newsom’s Thursday, May 7 press conference on coronavirus. Newsom said to expect restaurant reopening guidelines on Tuesday, and detailed what reopening retail will look like. Read the full speech transcript here.
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Gavin Newsom: (00:00)
… California. We were effective in balancing last year’s budget, so much so that our bond rating was increased last year. People were very appreciative that we were able to pay down this wall of debt that former Governor Brown talked so often about. We were able to get rid of a lot of the gimmicks, the budgetary gimmicks that were so much part of California’s recent past. We were able to move forward very deliberatively to be thoughtful about the utilization of those surplus dollars, putting record reserves, creating some additional reserve accounts, a safety net reserve account that we were able to bolster up.
Gavin Newsom: (00:41)
We were able to also put down a marker that we were going to commit to the long term. I don’t know of a state in America last year that used part of its operating surplus at the level of the state of California did. Over $9 billion we committed to pay down our longterm pension obligations. Many fiscal hawks recognized the work of the state of California, recognized we used a lot of the one-time dollar, overwhelmingly used our one-time surplus for one-time investments, and we worked very closely to make investments that were ongoing, but do it in a strategic way, really focusing on our children, our youth and childcare programs and preschool programs and focusing not surprisingly on public health.
Gavin Newsom: (01:28)
That was a year ago this week. Here we are now a year later, and I want to just give you a sense of the enormity of the task now at hand. I submitted in January to the California legislature a projected budget into the new fiscal year. The projected budget building on last year’s efforts also projected a surplus, roughly a $6 billion surplus we projected. This is 90 days ago, not a year ago, just 90 days ago.
Gavin Newsom: (02:04)
We introduced a budget projecting at another $6 billion budget surplus. We were referencing a few weeks later that we had hit a milestone, 120 consecutive months of net job growth. We had the lowest unemployment in modern recorded history in the state of California. People were feeling great sense of optimism about our fate and future. We even started to see stubborn, though it was some real progress addressing the issue that defines so much of California’s struggle, and that’s the issue of disparities, this bifurcated hybrid reality that many live in and those that were still struggling to recover from the 2008/2009 great recession. We were starting to close some of those gaps and start to address the issue of those disparities and poverty, income and wealth inequality and the like. That was 90 days ago.
Gavin Newsom: (03:05)
Here we are today. Our Department of Finance put out a memo in anticipation of the release of our May revise and our budget, and you may have seen, we’re projecting tens of billions of dollars of shortfalls, all specifically related to COVID-19, all specifically related to this pandemic. In so many ways, it’s not surprising. We’ve been foreshadowing this for many, many weeks, and of course, for many, many months, this has been foreshadowed as this is a global pandemic, and there is not an economy around the world that has substantively at least been immune, some a little less so from the collateral consequences of this pandemic as it relates to their economy.
Gavin Newsom: (03:51)
The United States, every state in this nation will be struggling with unprecedented shortfalls. That happened in such a very short period of time, and California is no different. What is different in the state of California is we’re the world’s fifth largest economy. Our budgets and magnitude’s larger than over 20 States combined in terms of its population, and so it gives you a sense of the scope and scale of this state, so when you see those numbers, they should get your attention, and understandably so.
Gavin Newsom: (04:27)
But what may not get as much attention and I think deserves your attention equally is we’re better positioned to deal with this shortfall than we have shortfalls of the past. Let me be more specific. California went through a very challenging time in 2003. The magnitude of that deficit was actually greater in percentage terms than the deficit we face. In 2009, that was a jaw-dropping challenge for that administration and that legislature. They were trying to balance roughly a $60 billion budget shortfall.
Gavin Newsom: (05:06)
It may have been a larger in percentage terms than the state’s current shortfall, but they were not as well-positioned because of the fiscal management preceding that to weather that deficit, and I think this is a long way of saying this: We’ll get through this. This will be challenging. We’ll get through it by working together, the collaborative spirit of shared responsibility. I’ve already had the privilege of meeting with the leadership of the Assembly and the Senate and the budget chairs and their respective colleagues to give them a sense of the scope and magnitude, and I have great expectation, a great confidence that we’ll do everything in our power to protect the most vulnerable Californians at this incredible moment in time.
Gavin Newsom: (05:53)
But I will say this, my optimism is conditioned on this: More federal support. End of the day, with this happening in such a short period of time, we’re seeing economic numbers, the unemployment numbers, now 4.3 million people just since March 12th have filed for unemployment insurance. Almost $12 billion, $11.9 billion of unemployment claims have been processed, checks have been cut just since March 15th. Again, March 15th, not January 15th. Gives you a sense of the magnitude.
Gavin Newsom: (06:29)
Those unemployment numbers will translate into economic numbers of unemployment that are more acute than anything we’ve seen in modern times. The budget, however, because of the acuity of this crisis, we believe is manageable, again, if the federal government helps support states like ours. It is absolutely incumbent upon our federal partners to recognize, as many do, and I can assure you one that certainly does is Speaker Nancy Pelosi, but as many do the magnitude of this moment and how it’s directly related to COVID-19, not mismanagement.
Gavin Newsom: (07:09)
Again, $21.4 billion budget surplus we were able to balance last year, $6 billion projected surplus just 90 days ago in this state, paying down longterm pension obligations, balancing budgets with record reserves, seeing bond rating agencies look at those facts and adjudicate them independently, record-low unemployment, real economic growth, reinforcing our position as the world’s fifth largest economy, but because of this pandemic, because of what it has done, these revenue shortfalls are bigger than even the state of California.
Gavin Newsom: (07:48)
We need the federal government to recognize this because at the end of the day, it’s not about our state, it’s about our firefighters, it’s about our nurses, it’s about our teachers, it’s about frontline employees that we call heroes every single day for good reason. They are the real, real victims at this moment of these potential shortfalls, and we have to do everything in our power to protect them and to protect the most vulnerable Californians that need the supports now more than ever because their personal finances are even more devastating than the state’s fiscal condition.
Gavin Newsom: (08:26)
We have to recognize that this moment requires an historic effort, a partnership, not just between a governor and a legislature, but between the states and our federal government. We are very grateful for the support we have already received and has been bipartisan, and we are very grateful to the leadership of both parties for their support and the President of the United States for his concurrence in terms of those commitments, the CARES Act, the last CARES Act has been profoundly beneficial to the state of California.
Gavin Newsom: (08:59)
But sadly, the enormity of this moment requires even more support, and again, not just for states, but for cities and counties that are truly on the front lines of addressing this pandemic. I’ll tell you, when I say the front lines, they are the ones that hire your local police officers and firefighters. These counties and the health departments hiring nurses and doctors, these heroes, the skilled nursing facilities, and the incredible work those men and women are doing in our assisted living facilities take care of our seniors and our most vulnerable, so many of them county employees, not just state employees.
Gavin Newsom: (09:35)
In fact, the state of California is one of the most efficient per capita number of employees of any state in the country, but the reality is this impacts cities and counties, particularly counties in profound and significant ways. Again, this is not a cry by any stretch. We are proud of this state and our capacity to meet the moment and to be resilient, and we’re really proud of the work that’s been done, former Governor Brown, former legislators to really get California’s fiscal health back in shape, but this is bigger than all of us, and we really need the federal government to do more and to help us through this moment.
Gavin Newsom: (10:18)
We’ll do everything we are responsible for doing, and more. We punch above our weight in this state, and we’ll come back stronger, more vibrant, more resilient than ever because one thing we all know is a lot more than we did know before this crisis. We know our limitations. We know our capacity. We’re breaking through many of the limitations, breaking through our previous belief systems of capacity. We’re reimagining the future in realtime because we have to invent it in real time to just address the magnitude of this crisis. Just ask our teachers that are doing distance learning, and they’re able to do it in heroic ways, almost overnight, just as so many of our employers and entrepreneurs that have even broken through in additional innovations in terms of the telework that they’re doing and the other capacity organized differently, their teams of employees, essential and nonessential, the creativity of folks in government that are meeting this moment in historic ways to protect you and to keep you safe and healthy, not only in our hospital system but in alternative care sites all across our state in our nation.
Gavin Newsom: (11:23)
I’m not being Pollyannish, we’ll get through this, but I am being sober about the magnitude of the reality that we cannot do it alone. We continue to enjoy just extraordinary relationships with our elected officials, our federal representatives, again, Democrats and Republicans here in this state. I will need everybody moving together in this. This is, again, not a red state issue, not a blue state issue. It’s tiring saying that. It’s not a red county issue, a blue county. That’s tiring.
Gavin Newsom: (11:54)
It’s about human beings that need government at a time great need and great stress more than they ever have in our lifetimes, and we are capable of meeting that moment together. That’s the spirit we’re going to bring in to the next five or so weeks as we try to work through our balanced budget. One thing we don’t have as a nation state is that printing press. That’s one thing that distinguishes our federal government from state governments, but we do have an entrepreneurial mindset, and we do believe in accountability. We’re not victims of fate. We have agency. We’ll do our best, but we are certainly dealing with a crisis that is global in its scope and impact, and clearly, California is not immune from those impacts. I just want to, on the top, lead with a little bit of news in that respect, and know that we are working very, very closely with the legislature to do everything we can and with leadership, particularly Nancy Pelosi, to see what we can get done federally.
Gavin Newsom: (13:04)
As it relates to getting things done, as it relates to taking account and responsibility, as it relates to moving forward, we, today, are also announcing some specific milestones that we believe we have reached based upon health, based upon data, based upon our scientific analysis of where we are as it relates to the state of COVID-19, as it relates to the spread of this disease. We laid out a number of weeks ago a roadmap for recovery. We put forward six specific indicators that will guide our determination of when we can make meaningful modifications to that roadmap and begin to reopen up our economy with conditions and with modifications.
Gavin Newsom: (13:54)
We socialized more specifically that last week, and we previewed it the beginning of this week on Monday and said by Thursday today we would put out guidelines to move into what we refer to as phase two of our reopening plan. That’s exactly what we will be doing here today. Dr. Ghaly in a moment will come up, go through a slide presentation, and be much more specific about exactly what these guidelines offer and what they don’t.
Gavin Newsom: (14:24)
We also will put out details about what we are looking for from counties that wish to go farther than the statewide modifications, all within the framework of stage two. We have been working with counties large and small all across the state, including those that may have gotten ahead of themselves a little bit, try to pull them back in, in the spirit of collaboration and cooperation. We have been advised by our team of economic advisors the remarkable work that has been done that allowed for 33 modifications of our own guidance that came directly out of our jobs and recovery task force and the advisors.
Gavin Newsom: (15:07)
Again, I’ll just put up that task force of advisors up against any. We could not be more proud of the work that Ana O’Leary and Tom Steyer are doing, our co-chairs of that task force, and the incredible men and women that are participating, including a wonderful call we had yesterday with over a hundred advisors in every sector of our economy from some of the most well-known brand names, Bob Iger, Tim Cook on down to some of… not on down… including even going higher to April Verette of SEIU 2015 talking about the power and potency of people we used to walk by and never even nod and acknowledge that now we’re calling heroes, the essential workforce in our skilled nursing facilities. She put a human face, really punctuated what’s at stake in terms of our economic recovery and how there’s a socioeconomic dimension, there’s a racial dimension in terms of these conversations. I couldn’t be more proud of all of them, and they-
Gavin Newsom: (16:03)
… helped us advise this effort and helped us curate more specific guidelines that we are putting out here today. The guidelines we’re focused on today are extending opportunities in the retail sector, the manufacturing sector and the logistics sector, all with adaptations, all with modifications. But all with an eye on turning the page and moving into a new phase in terms of our economic recovery. Dr. Ghaly again will lay out more specifics in terms of each sector and what we’re looking for and also talk about what we’re looking for in terms of getting deeper into this second phase. What that looks like from dining in capacity, meaning opening restaurants, not just to take out but providing the ability to dine in. We’ll talk about outdoor museums potentially opening up car washes and the prospect of them opening up series, landscaping.
Gavin Newsom: (17:03)
I can go on and on. Dr. Ghaly Will be more specific, more cogent in terms of that presentation here in a moment, but you get a sense that we’re moving forward. But we’re doing it always with an eye be led by the data, by the science, by public health and these public health indices. He’ll lay out what we’re counting on, which is consistency in terms of capacity. Capacity to meet these indicators on testing, on tracing and tracking, on supportive isolation, on issues related to hospital surge. How we manage the needs of our most vulnerable California seniors, homeless, those that are incarcerated or in custody that are vulnerable to this pandemic. The challenges of making sure that we’re doing appropriate community surveillance so we’re tracking spread in real time. If we see numbers go up in a way that causes stress in the system, the ability to toggle back, the ability to move back in a more restrictive direction.
Gavin Newsom: (18:06)
These are specific responsibilities of these counties if they want to go further, specific responsibilities of the state if we want to continue to make progress that we have to monitor in real time. The testing is getting better. Over 843,000 tests now we’ve done in the state of California 30 plus thousand more tests just in the last 24 hours. We put out that new testing site yesterday. I encourage you, if you didn’t hear about it, you didn’t know about it. COVID-19 on the covid19.ca.gov website. You can log in your zip code and you’ll see how close you are, approximate you are to a testing facility. We’ve got these 86 new testing sites being distributed all throughout the state of California. Almost all of them are in place. There were some logistic questions, but we’ve identified locations for all of them. Most are now up and running rural California, not just inner city California.
Gavin Newsom: (19:01)
Still, a lot of work to do. There’s still some testing deserts in the state, but we put that site up because we’re starting to see real progress in the testing. Yesterday I announced that our partnership with DCSF, we started that first cohort. They started filling out registrations yesterday and the first cohort to get the virtual training for our tracing core that we’re putting together. This army of disease detectives where we’re going to try and get 10,000 in our first phase building on the existing infrastructure, just shy of 3000 people that are already doing this work throughout the state of California. But testing and tracing are foundational in terms of this effort to move into second phase. As I said yesterday, the critical nature of PPE, the critical nature of getting masks, not just for those that are in the frontlines and our healthcare sector. But broadening the frontlines to the grocery lines, broadening them to transit lines, broadening to the factory lines and those that are manufacturing and doing delivery lines and logistics. To make sure that they have adequate PPE and so progress in that place as well.
Gavin Newsom: (20:08)
So we’ll monitor all of this in real time. We’ll do our everything we can to partner with counties. Some may see these variations and the requirements to get into this second phase more deeply as impediments. We see them as common sense, public health requisites. We recognize flexibility is important and we recognize that we have certain ideas and answers and solutions, but we don’t have all the ideas, answers and solutions. We are humbled by that as well. So it’s a way of expressing this. We look forward to working with our local partners to pull them in and to help them help move forward into this deeper phase two. I’ll just conclude on that point by just reminding you that the foundational predicate is self-certification, but self-certification with conditions. These counties that want to move into deeper part of the second phase, have to do so in concurrence with their hospital system. In concurrence with their boards of supervisors in the counties and with all of these tough questions answered on testing, tracing and surge and protecting vulnerable communities before they move into the phase.
Gavin Newsom: (21:23)
We’ll provide technical assistance and of course we’re open to argument, interested in their unique conditions and circumstances and we’ll try to provide some flexibility. But again, it’s a health first frame and if they can’t meet it on the basis of data and facts on trend lines, on hospitalizations, on ICU data, on death data and positive data. Then we’re not able to accommodate that and we’ll be compelled to enforce it in a thoughtful and judicious way. We’re confident though the vast majority, there’ll be exceptions.
Gavin Newsom: (21:57)
People in the spirit of collaboration will work with us to work through those issues and we recognize we have a lot of work to do ahead of us in that space. By the way, the guidelines for these variances into the second phase will be out next Tuesday for many, many of the sectors that can potentially get the benefit of these variations. So that’s a preview for next Tuesday as well. I’ve said enough, now let me have my doctor, your doctor, an expert in this space, say the most important parts about this guidelines and guidance and of course at the end will be available to answer any questions. Dr. Ghaly.
Dr. Ghaly: (22:43)
Thank you governor. It’s great to be with you again. Today as the governor said, I want to walk you through what we look forward to beginning tomorrow in terms of additional sectors that are coming back to business. As well as talk a bit about the regional variance process that we’ve been hard at work describing here and are ready to put out in the next day. So this is a reminder that California’s decision to modify the stay at home order is based on science data in public health. We have for weeks, months now been looking at that data then updating you on a daily basis as well as explaining how we believe we are in what we call our range or zone of stability with our hospital data and our death data across the state.
Dr. Ghaly: (23:38)
That gives us confidence to move into this stage two of modifying our stay at home order. What does it mean to move into stage two? It does not mean a return to normal. We know that COVID-19 is still spreading daily. The governor updates the number of new cases. Even despite increased testing, we still see a number of new cases despite an increased ability to do contact tracing. We still know that the virus is alive in California and that your good efforts have helped us suppress it quite a bit, but it is still there spreading and we know that we’re going to gradually reopen California only as we can reduce the risk to all Californians from contracting COVID-19.
Dr. Ghaly: (24:29)
So what starts tomorrow Friday, May 8th? We’ve been talking about that date now for over a week. We’ve talked about how retailers are going to be doing more curbside pickup, potentially delivery, and all done in that physically distanced way with those modifications. We’re encouraging those retailers to install hands-free devices that maybe it’s not direct payment at a cashier like we’re used to, but a click and swipe type of methodology. We’ll see a lot more hand sanitizer outside the door. You’ll see staff from the retailers coming out to your car potentially to deliver goods with gloves and a mask on. What does it mean for manufacturers? It means that normal manufacturing plant may have people further apart than they were before COVID-19. It may mean that their break rooms have been closed down and exchanged for open air break rooms with physically distanced seating. Warehouses might look very much like those manufacturing businesses as well and maybe their delivery trucks are full with sanitation materials. The people doing the deliveries will have different personal protective equipment than they did before COVID-19 became a reality.
Dr. Ghaly: (25:54)
We know that this is going to be a gradual move into stage two. We are going to be able to add more businesses and sectors as the data allows us, as the guidance is created and as we can assure that we are able to reduce risk. As we watch, as people begin to move in California more and more that we’re still able to suppress through our testing, our contact tracing capabilities across the state. So we don’t lose the important gains all Californians have helped contribute to over the last many weeks. This gradual move into stage two means that later, soon and later things like offices that haven’t been able to telework will open. Seated dining at restaurants, I know many of you look forward to that day when you can return to your favorite restaurant, get your favorite meal. We’re also looking forward to that. But only when we can put out guidelines with specifications on how those restaurants are set up. We know and are confident that the data in your region across the state can be supported so we don’t have an increased spread of COVID-19.
Dr. Ghaly: (27:05)
Shopping malls, the ability to not just go to pick up something that you ordered online from that favorite store, but to be able to go to that mall in a low risk way. Outdoor museums, as the governor mentioned something that I think we’re all looking forward to having open. But under the guidelines of how to do that in a physically distanced way, with the safest conditions that we can create during this COVID-19 period. We also are going to be putting out industry-wide guidance and these guidances will allow us as the public to know how our retailers, how our industries are setting themselves up in a COVID-19 period as they returned back to work. These guidances will allow us to have detailed risk assessments done by these employers, the training of employees on how to limit the spread of COVID-19. How to screen for symptoms, possibly temperature checks, symptom checks on a daily basis.
Dr. Ghaly: (28:13)
Of course as we’ve talked about staying home when someone’s sick. We’ll ask industries to implement site-specific protection plans, cleaning and disinfecting protocols and of course the physical distancing guidelines that we’ve been talking about for many, many weeks. I want to talk a little bit about what the governor mentioned earlier in the week that Dr. Angell walked us through early in the week as well and that just a few minutes ago, the governor said a little bit more specifically about, which is this concept of regional variance. As we have been reporting out statewide data, we know that COVID-19 has impacted different communities and different counties across the state in very different ways. There have been some counties with few cases and no deaths for many, many days. That has contributed to the excellent data that we’ve seen across the state. We know that some counties can move safely further into stage two as they can attest to a number of the things that I will walk you through in a moment that they’re able to achieve. These are all based on California Department of Public Health criteria.
Dr. Ghaly: (29:26)
So in order to achieve or attest to the regional variance criteria, we need the public health officer… Let me just take a moment and thank the public health officers across the state for the tremendous work, not just locally but statewide, coming together, having very challenging conversations. Thinking through some very hard decisions and keeping Californians safe using data and health throughout the many weeks. The work continues as we consider this a regional variants criteria. Things like counties being able to attest that they’ve had less than… No more than one case per 10,000 people in the last 14 days, no COVID related deaths in the last 14 days. That they’re able to protect our essential workers. Those are our grocery store workers, our transit workers with protective gear and that they’re able to support those same workers when they’re sick or exposed to COVID-19.
Dr. Ghaly: (30:32)
That we have adequate testing capacity in those counties. A minimum of 1.5 tests per 1,000 residents. That we’re able to do that contact tracing with those disease detectives that the governor has been talking to us about, with at least 15 contact tracers per 100,000 residents. That furthermore, we’re able to support with temporary housing a good number of those residents in our counties that are experiencing homelessness and may become COVID-19 positive.
Dr. Ghaly: (31:06)
We also, as the governor mentioned, we depend on our partnership with our hospital systems in our counties. We want to make sure that each county is able to work with their hospital systems and have at least 35% capacity for surge. We talked about early on that we look to add 50,000 beds across the state for potential COVID-19 surge. This, when you break it down at the county level at the hospitals, it is a minimum of 35% in each of those counties hospital systems to be able to potentially handle a surge in COVID-19 cases. Furthermore, that these hospitals have a robust plan to protect their hospital workforce with the PPE and other policies and procedures that keep them safe. We’ve talked about vulnerable populations since the beginning. We know that many of our skilled nursing facilities, and…
Dr. Ghaly: (32:03)
… other congregate care facilities must have PPE. And in order to attest for the regional variants, a public health officer must be able to say that their skilled nursing facilities have more than 14 days supply of PPE, as well as an ability to order additional PPE from suppliers when that 14 days is running low. And also, as the governor mentioned, we need to make sure that each county has the ability to understand their data and pull back from some of these modifications, slow down in some cases, re-institute those modifications again in other cases based on their data and their own countywide situation.
Dr. Ghaly: (32:51)
We look forward, the Department of Public Health, California Department of Public Health will post these guidelines to a test for regional variants on the CDPH website. We are also building a team at the state to provide technical assistance to the counties to review their attestations, to ensure that all of these different criteria are met. And those will all be publicly posted for you and your communities and counties to understand what your county is doing, to ensure that they make your communities as safe as possible as we look to reopen certain parts of our communities and our businesses in the days and weeks to come. And with that I’ll turn it back to the governor. Thank you.
Gavin Newsom: (33:42)
Thank you, Dr. Ghaly. So that’s the broad strokes of what we are advancing today. Very specific guidelines in the retail, manufacturing and logistics sector. Considerations of time, manner and place. A recognition that businesses are very different even within sectors. Something I know very well personally. Again, not to belabor a point that I make often, but it’s a big point of pride that I’ve had the privilege in my life to be involved in starting up many businesses in this state in the restaurant, hotel and wine sector. And I deeply understand no one other business is the same as that other business. Meaning everything is unique and distinctive depending on type, depending on location, depending on a million different factors. And we’re trying to include enough flexibility in these sectors that allow for some variation even within the guidelines. And so I just want folks to know this is an iterative process. It is a dynamic process. This is not etched in stone. We want to continue to work with people across sectors and to address unintended, not just intended, consequences of these meaningful modifications to the stay at home order. But the end of the day, these are meaningful modifications. And I say that with my eyes wide open in this sense, we are now, if and when we move through phase two, roughly 70% of the economy is been impacted in terms of its opportunity to adjust, modify and adapt to the new realities of this phase. That may sound significant, but it is as well very insignificant because the modifications are real restrictions in terms of commerce. And the biggest restriction, of course, is customer confidence.
Gavin Newsom: (35:43)
Just because you open a business and have the ability to do curbside pickup or take a product from a retail store and put it into the trunk to provide for social distancing and physical distancing to a customer doesn’t mean a customer’s going to show up and nor does it mean your workers will show up. And that’s why all of this is focused on not just the business opportunity but the responsibility we have to one another, responsibility that the employers have to employees to keep them protected, and all of us have to one another as customers to make sure that we integrate in the spirit of this phase, the kind of attitudes and processes, procedures and common sense application of these rules that will allow us to make some real progress.
Gavin Newsom: (36:30)
Frequency, duration are very different within these sectors. So again, we’re moving away now from essential and non essential to lower risk and really looking more specifically within that lower risk sector at the variations on frequency and the time, as I say, in manner to which these businesses engage with customers and how that impacts risk to customers and more broadly the community. We’re also providing checklists. These are not mandatory, but we encourage establishments, particularly customer facing establishments, with retail in particular, put checklists up so people know as a customer you feel a lot more confident why these things are being done, that they are being done and sanitation and all these other things in terms of physically moving things around to the extent possible, to allow people to feel safe and protected. Those are the employees, not just, again, customers. So those checklists, we think, also could be very advantageous as we move through the second phase.
Gavin Newsom: (37:35)
I’ll remind people, this includes auto dealers, but they actually were part of that previous phase. But we did update some of the guidance for auto dealers. Construction, they were part of the last phase, but we did update some guidance on construction. Real estate, they were part of last phase, but we did update the guidance in the real estate sector. And so all of that’s been updated. And then as we move into the second phase, we’re putting that guidance out. It’s up right now in the covid19.ca.gov website.
Gavin Newsom: (38:05)
And I anticipate, and I’ll close with this, anticipate with these regional variances, with these county based variances, when we get the guidelines out, this is fundamental, next Tuesday we’ll start putting the guidelines out, that many will move to self certify. But that has to be done with initial phone conversation with our Department of Public Health. And remember, all of this is made public and everybody will know exactly what the rules of the road are and the expectations are in our respective communities. So as soon as next week we’ll see, I think, a lot of energy in that space.
Gavin Newsom: (38:45)
Just close with what we do on a daily basis, and that’s update you, as Dr. Ghaly said, on the daily numbers. We had some positive news, consistent with Dr. Ghaly’s point, that we’ve seen a flattening of the curve, particularly in ICUs and hospital admissions for now weeks and weeks and weeks, well beyond the 14 day CDC guidelines. Both in the ICU space and the hospitalization space.We saw declines yesterday versus the previous day. We also saw it in those PUI numbers, again, people under investigation, in those two categories as well. That’s always a wonderful day when we see all four of those indicators turning green or at least moving in the right direction.
Gavin Newsom: (39:28)
Stubbornly, as Dr. Ghaly referenced, those death numbers, the lagging number of deaths, continues to be a point of just devastation for families, loved ones that are lost, and frustration for all of us in terms of just coming to grips with the magnitude of what we’re up against. And again, I remind people that think, “Hey, the emergency’s over, everything’s… We can go back to the way things used to be.” I’ve heard some comments from people that are even in elected office saying that. Tell that to 92 families that were destroyed because they lost a loved one to this virus in the last 24 hours.
Gavin Newsom: (40:05)
This by no stretch of the imagination is over. We want to contain this spread. We are making real progress in the state because you’ve all practiced physical distancing and you abided broadly by the stay at home order, but we’re not out of the woods. And yes, we are very, very cognizant of the fact that when we modify, we anticipate more engagement and obviously more engagement, more mixing of individuals puts people potentially at risk of contracting the disease, virulence of this disease is well defined and that’s why it’s so important that all the monitoring and all the guidelines under the new playbook that was put out today are enacted and enforced.
Gavin Newsom: (40:54)
Containment plans are critical. These protection plans are foundational for our success, so we can continue to move through this next phase into that third phase. Then ultimately that final phase, that fourth base, when we have immunity, we have the vaccine and we can go back to festivals and concerts and huge sporting events that define so much of our lives and enjoyment and entertainment before this crisis. But we’ve got a lot of work to do before we get there. And that work will be decided by you, our individual behaviors and how that impacts others, and collectively our efforts here to modify will be predicated on the data that will decide and determine how quickly we move into those next phases.
Gavin Newsom: (41:40)
So that’s broad strokes, what we wanted to offer here today and we of course look forward to answering any questions. And Dr. Ghaly is here as well to be more specific in responses related to these modifications.
Julie Cart, CalMatters.
Julie Cart: (42:01)
Yes, good afternoon. Thanks for taking the question. Governor, this is regarding the vendors that your administration is paying for supplies and services in response to the coronavirus. Will you please describe the vetting process during the pandemic emergency and how it varies from the state’s normal procedures during emergencies or other times? And do you think the vetting has been sufficient given that the state has wired half a billion dollars to a company that has been in business just three days?
Gavin Newsom: (42:29)
Yeah. And that money was brought back, as you know well and not a dime was lost in the state of California. We were in the wild, wild west period in the early part of this pandemic. Those dollars were protected and protocols were put into place that were much more strengthened after that specific incident. The good news is I have the director the Office of Emergency Services, Mark Ghilarducci, can speak more specifically to the protocols and procedures that are in place and relay his confidence in what we’re doing currently as it relates to those vendors.
Mark Ghilarducci: (43:05)
Thank you, Governor and thanks for the question. Really the difference between emergency procurements and normal procurements is obviously during an emergency phase time is of the essence. In this particular event, the COVID-19, we were in an extra requirement for enhanced ability to get PPE out to the public health providers. That’s really our hospital workers and our first responders. This also was a little bit more complex in that we were dealing with a condition where we had worldwide shortage of a common commodity that literally every healthcare provider and government in the world was trying to obtain.
Mark Ghilarducci: (43:54)
And so vetting was important. We pulled together a vetting team of individuals, but again, and these individuals really were a combination of individuals from our Public Health Department, from our Office of Emergency Services, from our Department of General Services. We pulled in some expertise from logistics and we also incorporated expertise outside. I mentioned before, in previous press conferences, our ability to engage NGOs and other entities that have done work in Asia and with foreign commodity providers to help us to ensure that the vetting has been done an appropriate and efficient manner.
Mark Ghilarducci: (44:37)
But again, a lot of this was being done in real time very rapidly. And the idea was to try to get as many of these commodities as possible. As the governor mentioned, this was the wild, wild west and the fact that of the matter is there were thousands and thousands of individuals and organizations reaching out to us that required all of these aspects to be vetted, and we were looking for large commodity purchases. And so we did, through that vetting process, the ability to find the most appropriate commodity that could deliver for us in the timing of fashion.
Mark Ghilarducci: (45:16)
Eventually we also brought in our partners from the federal government, both from FEMA and we established and tied into the task force led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the FBI, and the Department of Justice to ensure that all of the different commodities that we were obtaining and the people we were dealing with were legitimate. And we found, as I’ve mentioned before in previous press conferences, a lot of fraud, a lot of promises not kept and the inability of providers that said that they could provide for us and then they couldn’t.
Mark Ghilarducci: (45:50)
So that was basically the vetting process. The vetting process continues to go on today. And really through that vetting process, we only were able to actually get through a very small percentage of legitimate organizations and companies that could provide us the commodities that we needed.
Gavin Newsom: (46:11)
Thank you, Director. Hard pressed to find any state, maybe might find a state or two, that didn’t struggle with same challenges. Good news, no money wasted, lesson learned, new procedures, protocols put in place. And let me just punctuate that 21.1 was a wonderful number I received this morning, texts early this morning, 21.1 million procedure masks now in our inventory that we’re getting out in real time.
Gavin Newsom: (46:37)
It only reinforces the moment we’re in getting this product in, making sure we secure it, making sure we distribute it, getting out in real time. It’s foundational in terms of the announcements we’re making, the guidelines we’re putting out and the next phase of variations to make sure, again, those on the frontlines, defined more broadly, in our retail sector, hospitality sector and the like, have this appropriate protective gear. So very encouraged by the progress that’s been made.
Gavin Newsom: (47:03)
Elex Michaelson, Fox 11.
Elex Michaelson: (47:08)
Thank you, Governor. I have questions about two industries in particular. You mentioned the restaurant industry, you said that it could open soon for dining. Does that mean a matter of weeks, a matter of months? What are you looking at there? And for sport, today the NFL is announcing its schedule. Are you comfortable with games being played without fans if players can get adequate testing? What do you think sports will look like in the next couple of months here in the state of California?
Gavin Newsom: (47:38)
Yeah, on the sports question, it’s difficult to imagine a stadium that’s filled until we have immunity, until we have a vaccine. It’s difficult for me to imagine what the league, broadly, leagues do when one or two of their key personnel or players are tested positive. Do they quarantine the rest of the team? If an offensive lineman is practicing with a defensive lineman and they-
Gavin Newsom: (48:03)
… have tested positive, what happens to the rest of the line? What happens for the game coming up and then next weekend? It’s inconceivable to me that that’s not a likely scenario. So it’s a very challenging question you’re asking and it’s a very challenging question. I know it’s being asked by major league baseball, certainly by the commissioner, the NFL. I’ve had the privilege of talking to many of them including the players, unions and associations. And I can assure you this, it’s very fluid and I think it should be, they should be very, very sensitive to the needs of the communities which they are identified and where they practice and play, but we are working collaborative and cooperatively across the spectrum and that includes soccer, includes UFC, includes many different leagues and affiliations, all that really want to get back.
Gavin Newsom: (48:57)
I think many of us… Look, I’ve talked a lot about my own background in baseball and why substantially I’m here because of what sports did for me. So when I say this, that I’m passionate about sports, I really am. And how uniting sports can be at a time when people feel so torn apart and so anxious, and I really think they’re incredibly important in terms of the spirit and pride that a community state and nation can build. And so I say this very, very honestly, I hope I’ll be able to answer that question sooner than later, but it’s a very tough question for these leagues to answer because they must have a safety first, health first mindset and there are conditions that persist in this state and this nation that make reopening very, very challenging.
Gavin Newsom: (49:44)
As it relates to the specifics of restaurants, the likelihood of some counties meeting all the criteria of the variants that Dr. Galley put forward, happening after we put out the dine- in guidelines next Tuesday, I think is very high in certain parts of the state. And so you can see, not in weeks potentially if some move quickly and work collaboratively with the state and what their County board of supervisors, their health directors, they put the tracing and tracking, they put the surge plans together, they have strategies to protect the most vulnerable and they have trigger plans and measurements that allow them to pull back and they abide by these guidelines and they prepare for them, we can see that happening in the next week or so.
Speaker 1: (50:39)
Andrew [inaudible 00:50:40].
Thank you, governor. Can you clarify why churches and salons are in phase three and not phase two? What makes them more high risk than schools, for example? What factors are you weighing here when you decide what goes into what phase?
Gavin Newsom: (50:59)
We’re looking at the science, epidemiology, looking again at frequency, duration, time and looking at low risk, high reward, low risk, low reward, looking at a series of conditions and criteria as well as best practices from other States and nations, all of those things and the advisory committees that we have go in to making that determination.
Gavin Newsom: (51:23)
Let me be specific now to nail salons. This whole thing started in the state of California, the first community spread in a nail salon. I just want to remind you, remind everybody of that. I’m very worried about that. And as you may know, many have certainly informed me. Many of the practices that you would otherwise expect of a modification were already in play in many of these salons with people that had procedure masks on, were using gloves and we’re advancing higher levels of sanitation. So that has to all be factored in and candidly our health directors, the experts, the counsel that I’ve received are very worried about moving precipitously into that next phase. We hope to get it in the next new phase shortly, but right now all of our health indicators and health directives that I received from health directors across state put some red flags in that space.
Gavin Newsom: (52:22)
As it relates to churches. You may know this may have written about this and if you have, thank you and if you haven’t, I would encourage you to take a look. A few weeks back, we added guidelines and clarified for faith based leaders, I had a series of phone calls and zoom calls and conferences with faith based leaders maintaining that in the current phase one, that they can continue as essential, the incredible work that they do serving the community, our homeless, our seniors and our children, again, with the guidelines we put out in childcare that is provided by many faith leaders across the state. So there are substantial augmentations that were already made in that space for faith communities.
Gavin Newsom: (53:07)
Our fear is simply this, congregations of people mixing from far and wide, coming together, proximate in an enclosed space at large scales is a point of obvious concern and anxiety. It’s not unique to the state of California. But know that we are already working on guidelines for physical distancing and working with faith leaders, looking at the unique conditions that exist and reside within their own facilities that may make some further accommodations in that space happen earlier.
Gavin Newsom: (53:43)
So again, none of this is etched in stone. I’m very sensitive. I grew up the church Notredam David Trois talk often about further cause… I don’t want to overdo it here, but we say grace every night before dinner with the family. I take very seriously those concerns about people of faith and know that I’m very sensitive to those that want to get back into church and into these facilities. We’re going to see what we can do to accommodate that, but the health of those communities is foundational as well.
Speaker 1: (54:20)
Bighad Shaban, NBC Bay area,
Bighad Shaban: (54:24)
Thanks for taking my question governor. I wanted to talk to you about action you’ve taken relating to evictions. Tenants in California are still getting eviction notices and some housing advocates say that’s because the order you signed to hold evictions is fairly weak. Are they? Right?
Gavin Newsom: (54:38)
Well, I don’t know that it’s weak. You cannot legally evict someone. You can’t enforce an eviction pursuant to that order. The order seems very clear from my perspective, very strong from that perspective. As I’ve said on multiple occasions, we’re not the final word. We also put out an executive order in addition to that moratorium on evictions as relates to the enforcement and the court proceedings related to those evictions. We also made it clear through an additional has gotten to the border that counties and communities, cities like LA have, and I think San Jose, SF, others can go further now with more clarification of the rules of the road.
Gavin Newsom: (55:20)
I was very proud last year you may know to help negotiate over a course of many, many months with the outstanding leadership of a number of key assembly and Senate leaders, Phil [inaudible 00:55:30] among many others, a landmark, unprecedented first in the nation at scale Rent Control Bill and Just Cause Bill, as you know, I am not aware of any state in our nation that Just Cause criteria that we were able to advance last year at this scale in this state.
Gavin Newsom: (55:49)
So I take your question to heart. I take the concerns around tenants very seriously and as I’ve maintained to you in previous questions in the past and others that have inquired, I also am cognizant that these executive orders have timelines and expiration dates and we’re attending to over a few dozen that are in that category and looking to extend them and in the spirit of questions potentially strengthen them as necessary or augment them as maybe the want of some.
Speaker 1: (56:23)
Final question. Taron Muna, LA Times
Governor, many retail stores in California are already offering the curbside pickup that you said can resume on Friday. So other than this being a big symbolic shift of the beginning of the reopening of California, what is actually going to be any different tomorrow?
Gavin Newsom: (56:42)
Well, now they’ll have health guidelines that support those efforts. The extent you’re saying people have moved forward without the concurrence of the state, that may be the case. So I think it’s significant that the state of California is authorizing this legally, allowing certain jurisdictions to maintain more strict guidelines as you know well, Bay area, Los Angeles though it looks like they’re moving in line with our state guidelines. That’s very encouraging to see the kind of flexibility and local decision making. Of course the significance is the phase two augmentations that are now possible with the new variants that will be seen over the course of the next number of days and weeks. That’s very, very meaningful.
Gavin Newsom: (57:22)
And on the manufacturing side and logistics side, I hope you’ll take a good look at the guidelines. We also think they’re meaningful.
Gavin Newsom: (57:28)
As it relates to car dealers, I’m not sure many of you have written about that. We put together more clarification. Car dealers were able to open up and now they will have the guidelines that they were looking for, so I think you’ll see more activity in that space.
Gavin Newsom: (57:40)
Construction. You’re seeing a lot more activity in that space and furthering the efforts of clarification’s across sector, be it life science sector, we put out 17 sectorial guideline augmentations today. You’ll see a lot of that, we think will increase activity and appetite for people to move cautiously into this next space.
Gavin Newsom: (58:02)
Let me thank everybody as always for their time and attention, for the questions, for the stewardship. Let me continue to maintain that all of this is subject to this change, that we live in a dynamic environment. This pandemic is still with us. This disease continues to spread. We saw again more positive cases yesterday and the previous day, 1,799 more positive cases that we identified. We are making progress, we are flattening the curve. We’re beginning to bend it, ICUs and hospitalizations, but we’re not out of the woods yet. This emergency has not passed us by and we need to maintain our vigilance, maintain our distance physically from one another and continue to do our best to meet the spirit of these guidelines and not get ahead of ourselves at peril that we see this disease come back in fury and a second wave that makes the first wave pale in comparison. We are not out of the woods yet. Let’s continue to be vigilant, continue to do what we’ve done to get to this point and I hope folks see some light at the end of this tunnel, and we look forward to more of that light being shone down on them and beaches as well.
Gavin Newsom: (59:19)
Final thing I forgot to mention, thank you to Orange County. We were able to advance an agreement with orange County, the last of the seven jurisdictions within the County, this proper, the County itself, not just local jurisdictions, to move forward with modifications there on beach goers and to allow for very, very thoughtful reopenings that are soft in some cases and other cases a little bit more prescriptive. So progress, open spaces, progress on retail, manufacturing, logistics and opportunities, now very near future on in- person dining with conditions and modifications, and on car washes and a series of other things, offices included. Outdoor museums in that next phase, so we look forward to seeing with all these modifications and variances being self attested very, very soon.
Gavin Newsom: (01:00:16)
Take care everybody.