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Opinion: Lots of good news on California pandemic front, with one ominous


The editorial board operates independently from the U-T newsroom but holds itself to similar ethical standards. We base our editorials and endorsements on reporting, interviews and rigorous debate, and strive for accuracy, fairness and civility in our section. Disagree? Let us know.

Because he is likely to face a recall election this fall, everything Gov. Gavin Newsom does needs to be seen through the prism of his political needs. That makes it easy to be skeptical or cynical about his Tuesday announcement that the state of California would largely end pandemic restrictions on June 15 if low COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to be the norm and vaccine supplies are plentiful.

Nonetheless, Newsom provided welcome context in his remarks by emphasizing that the present tier system — which places limits on how much counties can reopen based on pandemic metrics — would still be in place June 15 if the numbers get worse. “The data will make that determination,” he said. “It won’t be done on political whim.”

On Wednesday, San Diego County moved to the orange tier — the second-least restrictive one. That means that churches, museums, restaurants, movie theaters and other businesses can use 50 percent of indoor space, double the previous 25 percent, and a local curfew on restaurants and bars serving after 10 p.m. has ended. These are big, eagerly awaited changes, but Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer, offered a needed cautionary note. She urged people to keep wearing masks and to be cautious around anyone who is unvaccinated.

While overall progress on the pandemic seems encouraging, it is not yet clear if Newsom will achieve his goal of fully reopening public schools by fall. The United Teachers of Los Angeles — the state’s most powerful local teachers union — says that teachers with young children should be allowed to keep working remotely if Los Angeles Unified doesn’t provide them with access to a subsidized child care program. Union leaders know that many rank-and-file teachers feel underpaid and understand that closed schools give them leverage. The recall may hinge on how Newsom responds.





Read More: Opinion: Lots of good news on California pandemic front, with one ominous

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