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COVID-19 State Policy Update 04.02.20

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April 2, 2020

Today, Governor Gavin Newsom announced new assistance available for small businesses and workers impacted by the crisis.   

He began his remarks with a look at the economy saying, "The economic consequences are profound."  Since March 12th, more than 1.9 million Californians have filed for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits.  The state has averaged 111,000 UI claims a day for the last week.

Specific to small business, the Governor said that California is providing broad assistance to small businesses and employers impacted by COVID-19.  During his briefing, he went over the following items:

To see a list of all the assistance available, the Governor directed individuals to visit the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development website and for information on tax relief,  he has said to visit the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration website

Governor Newsom also announced that a Central Valley company, Bitwise Industries, along with Salesforce, LinkedIn and others,  has created a web page –https://onwardca.org/– to match people with open job listings throughout the state, using a questionnaire that considers wage preference and skill set, etc.

He again provided the latest COVID-19 hospitalization and intensive care unit (ICU) patient figures.  He noted that California ICU and hospitalization numbers "are not growing as significantly as you're seeing in other parts of the country."  The number of coronavirus hospitalizations is now 1,922.  The number of coronavirus patients in ICU beds is 816, a 5.4 percent increase from the day before.

With regards to California Health Corps, Governor Newsom said that the response continues to be overwhelming.  Thus far, after just three days, more than 70,000 health care professionals have applied. 

During the Q&A, he was asked about construction.  He said his Administration has been having "long conversations" with the State Building and Construction Trade Council of California about building safely under COVID-19 guidelines.  While some cities have halted construction, Newsom said as of now he is not planning a statewide shutdown.

On masks or face coverings, he said wearing masks in public pales in comparison to staying home.   If people want to wear face coverings, "that's a good thing," but no mandates.

Tomorrow, the Governor plans to make additional announcements on homelessness and the ongoing efforts to get people off the streets.

In terms of the State Budget, he reiterated that the proposed January budget is “no longer operable.”

He promised to release data on community surveillance testing soon, in which groups of asymptomatic people have been tested to determine the full extent of virus spread in some communities.

The briefing concluded with a moment to thank law enforcement.

On Monday, April 1st, the Governor issued an Executive Order (EO) providing for expedited resources for COVID-19 response.   Of note, the news release stated that “most of the state’s expenditures associated with the COVID-19 response are expected to be largely reimbursed by the federal government.”  A copy of the news release can be found here.  A copy of the executive order can be found here, and the text of the order can be found here.

Governor Newsom further announced a major agreement between teachers, classified employees, school boards, superintendents, and principals to work together to provide distance learning to California’s students as a result of school closures due to mitigation efforts against the COVID-19 outbreak.  A copy of the news release can be found here.  The framework for student instruction can be found here.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond additionally announced that the California Department of Education (CDE) and the California State Board of Education (SBE) have issued new guidance on graduation requirements and grading for seniors.  A copy of the news release can be found here.  Please find the grades and graduation guidance document here as well as more school information and resources regarding coronavirus on the CDE’s COVID-19 web page

Also, yesterday, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued “Face Covering Guidance” for the general public.  A copy of the guidance can be found here.  A copy of the news release can be found here.