On Feb. 28, 2023, California’s COVID-19 state of emergency will officially come to an end.
Since March 2020, this statewide emergency declaration has given Gov. Gavin Newsom the power to suspend or change laws in California to fight the spread of COVID. Now, after almost three years, the state is winding down its state of emergency.
The move has been characterized as “a symbolic end” to the pandemic in California, and a “decision [that] will have little practical impact on most people’s lives.” And it’s certainly true that most of the pandemic-related orders Newsom has issued since March 2020 — almost 600 of them — have been lifted.
But it’s not entirely accurate to say that this move will have zero implications for California and the way COVID is handled — and perceived. Added to the mix is the fact that even if people are aware that the state of emergency is ending, they might not really know exactly what that entails — or how it could affect them personally.
So what does California ending its state of emergency at the end of February mean for you?
The federal state of emergency is ending, too — which also affects Californians
In January, the White House announced that the federal state of emergency for COVID will end on May 11 — over two months after California ends its own. And to complicate matters a little more, there are actually two federal emergencies ending May 11: the national emergency, and the public health emergency.