Continuing California’s progress in winding down executive orders implemented in response to the pandemic, Governor Gavin Newsom recently took action to lift additional COVID-19 related executive order provisions. That action came even while maintaining California’s nation-leading testing and vaccination programs and protecting hospital capacity – key components of the state’s SMARTER Plan to guide California’s response to the pandemic.
“As California navigates the evolving pandemic, the state remains laser-focused on keeping Californians safe while advancing our ongoing recovery,” said Governor Newsom. “We’re continuing to deploy proven strategies and programs that allow us to swiftly and effectively respond to changing pandemic conditions, take on equity gaps, and keep us moving forward.”
The Governor’s action terminates five provisions related to Cal/OSHA’s COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards, following updated workplace safety rules that took effect last month. Fifteen additional provisions are set to expire on June 30, after which only 5 percent of the COVID-19 related executive order provisions issued throughout the pandemic will remain in place.
Important measures still in effect to bolster the state’s COVID response and recovery efforts include provisions that support:
COVID Testing – Providing flexibility to support the state’s testing program, which under the SMARTER Plan will continue being able to process at least 500,000 tests per day. For example, through executive action the Governor has waived a provision that would require a health care professional to review each test result before it was released electronically to patients, and expanded scopes of practice for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to conduct COVID tests.
Vaccinations and Boosters – Ensuring flexibility to advance the state’s vaccination and booster programs, which under the SMARTER Plan will continue being able to distribute at least 200,000 doses per day. This includes waiving licensing requirements temporarily to enable pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to administer COVID vaccines and waiving requirements so that the state can offer mobile vaccine clinics.
Protecting Hospital Capacity and Vulnerable Populations – Provisions to protect both capacity in health care delivery system and vulnerable populations, particularly during COVID surges. This includes provisions allowing health care workers from out of state to provide services in California and enabling the Department of Developmental Services to provide remote and expanded nonresidential services for more clients.
Infant Formula Price Gouging Protections – Provisions that provide consumer protections against price gouging on infant formula in response to the ongoing supply chain challenges caused by the pandemic and the closure of a manufacturing facility that further impacted supply. To help improve access for parents and caretakers, sellers are generally prohibited from selling formula for a price that is more than 10 percent greater than the price they charged on Feb. 17.
Since the onset of the pandemic, California has led the nation’s fight against COVID-19 with meaningful public health efforts that have administered more than 76 million COVID-19 vaccines, contributed to California’s maintaining one of the lowest death rates among large states and made the state a national leader in preventing school closures. Building on lessons learned, and the state’s ongoing commitment to equity, Governor Newsom earlier this year unveiled the SMARTER Plan, which outlines the state’s strategic approach to managing the next phase of the pandemic with core pillars and preparedness metrics based on proven strategies used to successfully slow the spread of the virus and protect Californians.