California governor signs orders to roll back virus rules
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — It's official: Most of California's coronavirus rules governing public gatherings will disappear on Tuesday after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order Friday afternoon that heralds the end of the pandemic's hold on much of public life for the nation's most populous state.
Newsom's action on Friday ensures the state will end the stay-at-home order and its various amendments on Tuesday after more than 15 months on the books as more than 70% of adults in the state have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Starting Tuesday, there will be no capacity limits or physical distancing requirements for businesses. People who are fully vaccinated won't be required to wear a mask — including indoors.
While much of public life will officially return to normal on Tuesday, the state will still be under a statewide declaration of emergency. That means Newsom retains his authority to alter or suspend state laws indefinitely, either until he decides to end the emergency declaration or the state Legislature does it for him. That latter option is not likely because Democrats dominate the Legislature by a wide margin and are allied with the Democratic governor.
That has angered Republican lawmakers, who note state law requires the governor to end the state of emergency “at the earliest possible date that conditions warrant.” This week, three Republican lawmakers sent Newsom a letter pressing him on why a state of emergency still exists despite declining rates of new infections and hospitalizations.
Newsom has issued a total of 58 executive orders since the pandemic began, altering or suspending hundreds of state laws. Ann Patterson, Newsom's legal affairs secretary, said if Newsom ended the emergency declaration now “all of the executive...