California Gov. Gavin Newsom released a sweeping executive order on Thursday that allows the state to commandeer hotels and medical facilities to treat coronavirus patients and permits government officials to hold teleconferences in private without violating open meeting laws.
Newsom issued the order hours after he called for the cancellation of gatherings of 250 or more people through the end of March, marking the first time he has applied so-called social distancing practices to the entire state of California.
“This is where we need to go next, and to make sure we fully implement those procedures and protocols to slow down the spread to get through a peak and to get through the next few months, so we don’t overwhelm our healthcare delivery system,” Newsom told reporters.
But as he used his executive powers to expand the state’s response to the outbreak and made unprecedented requests of its 40 million inhabitants, the first-term governor also faced questions about whether he was going far enough.
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