SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- On Friday, Governor Newsom was trying to hold a press conference about the state's vaccine lottery winners, but the focus shifted when a reporter asked if he would lift California's state of emergency on June 15, when the state is scheduled to reopen.
"We're still in a state of emergency. This disease has not been extinguished, it's not vanished, it's not taking 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," explained Gov. Newsom.
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The revelation created confusion about reopening rules and fueled accusations among many Republicans that Newsom is abusing his power.
"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," said John Cox, a candidate in the Newsom recall election.
Cox did say he would support Newsom if he used the state of emergency to reject Cal/OSHA's workplace mask rules, which are much stricter than most people (including Newsom) anticipated.
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"Well if he uses his executive power for that, I think I'll agree with him on that one! It's non-sensical that one un-vaccinated person in an entire workplace can make everybody wear a mask," said Cox.
Some feel Newsom is sending a mixed message by upholding the state of emergency.
Bay Area health officials from Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo Counties, told ABC7 reporter Kate Larsen that the order will not impact their plans to reopen the economy on June 15.
"Until the governor tells us that's not the case, which he probably won't, we are ready top open on June 15 and we're going to celebrate that day," said David Canepa, president of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors.
"Everything about this pandemic has had a political edge," said ABC7 news contributor, Phil Matier, who said the state of emergency is not about rolling back reopenings.
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"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," said Matier.
Newsom's press office released the following statement:
"Governor Newsom is ending the Blueprint, which will lift regulations requiring physical distancing, capacity restrictions and indoors vs. outdoors requirements, the county tier system and more. By moving beyond the Blueprint on June 15, Governor Newsom is fully reopening the economy.
The state of emergency remains in place to ensure that the state can continue to respond quickly to evolving conditions as the pandemic persists, including to the threat posed by variants. The state of emergency also facilitates the state's ongoing coordination with FEMA on critical projects including vaccination efforts, contact tracing and testing. It also allows California to be eligible for federal funds to reimburse costs related to the purchase of personal protective equipment and COVID-19 response programs such as Project Roomkey and Great Plates Delivered, providing direct relief to the state and local government partners."
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