Gov. Newsom’s New COVID Plan Gives Little Hope for a Return to Pre-Pandemic Life

Written by Bobbie Wylie

Governor Gavin Newsom revealed his new COVID-19 plan Thursday, called the “SMARTER Plan.” SMARTER stands for Shots, Masks, Awareness, Readiness, Testing, Education and Rx, all of which are supposed to play a part in “using the lessons of the last two years to approach mitigation and adaptation measures through effective and timely strategies.”

Governor Newsom’s new plan does not include any metrics for transitioning away from pandemic-related policies. The plan’s major focus is on flexibility and preparing for potential future COVID-19 spikes rather than fully opening the state and bringing an end to COVID-19 related precautions. 

Governor Newsom spoke on the release of the SMARTER Plan, saying “We have all come to understand what was not understood at the beginning of this crisis — that there is no end date, that there is not a moment where we declare victory.” Newsom emphasized that the plan is a turning point for California’s pandemic response, moving from a “crisis mentality” to a “more settled approach” so that Californians can feel “firm and confident” about the future.

Critics of the plan are concerned over its lack of a clear timeline. California’s State of Emergency has continued for nearly two years, with no clear end in sight. Last week, Republican lawmakers unsuccessfully tried to force a vote on ending the state of emergency ahead of the Super Bowl. On Thursday, Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) announced that on March 15, a Senate committee will debate a Republican-led resolution to end California’s state of emergency.

Photo Cred: Watchara Phomicinda/The Orange County Register/SCNG via AP