Gov. Newsom makes the right call to save lives

Media Contacts
Emily Rusch

Vice President and Senior Director of State Offices, The Public Interest Network

New reopening plan prioritizes public health


SACRAMENTO — Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a tiered reopening plan for California today based on the risk of community transmission of the virus by county. Counties in the “widespread” transmission category will have more stringent restrictions, with bars and indoor dining closed, and other activities restricted. Counties in the lower transmission tiers will be able to reopen further. 

Emily Rusch, executive director for CALPIRG, issued the following statement in response to Gov. Newsom’s announcement:

“We didn’t get it right the first time, and we reaped the consequences of reopening too quickly, without hitting public health benchmarks. It’s a relief to see that Governor Newsom’s new plan will remedy some of those mistakes. Reopening cautiously and slowly, and only after cases come down dramatically will save lives and set us up to reopen the economy safely. 

We encourage the governor to build on this plan by implementing travel restrictions between counties. The good numbers in one county can go bad quickly as people move freely between them.

Even as cases come down as a result of shutting down parts of the economy and other public health interventions, to maintain that progress the state has to implement more robust testing, contact tracing, and isolation protocols. This is our second chance to reopen safely, we might not get a third.” 

Read CALPIRG Public Health Campaigns Director Matt Wellingon’s piece on “What went wrong with the first COVID-19 shutdown?”

More than 1300 public health professionals joined our open letter to leaders to “Shut Down, Start Over, Do it Right”