- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 21, 2020

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said he can’t envision a big crowd of sports fans congregating in a stadium anytime soon and that when businesses and schools do open in his state, they’ll look radically different.

“The idea of tens of thousands of fans coming together across their differences, high-fiving one another, hugging each other after a base hit or a strikeout is not something I’m anticipating any time soon,” Mr. Newsom said in an interview that aired Tuesday on “CBS This Morning.”

“I don’t anticipate that normalcy that many of us wish for happening any time soon,” he said of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr. Newsom also said schools aren’t going to reopen “as normal” when they do come back.

“You have to radically change the floor plans in the schools, in businesses, private-public institutions, large and small,” he said. “We’re going to have new protocols and procedures, temperature checks, people wearing face coverings across the spectrum.”

Mr. Newsom is coordinating with fellow Democratic Govs. Jay Inslee of Washington and Kate Brown of Oregon on plans to gradually reopen their West Coast state economies when it’s safe to do so.

Mr. Newsom was not prepared to say the worst is over in California, even as indicators such as intensive care unit (ICU) numbers are starting to flatten.

“No, because if we all pull back, we could see a second wave that makes this pale in comparison. I can’t say that,” he said. “We’re not seeing yet [the] significant decline that we need to see ultimately to toggle back.”

Mr. Newsom said there’s nothing wrong with being optimistic and hopeful.

“This is not the new normalcy in perpetuity — we’re going to come back,” he said. “We just need to temper the enthusiasm on when and how … and once we get herd immunity and once we get a vaccine, then we [can] come back and flourish and thrive.”

Mr. Newsom was the first U.S. governor to issue a statewide stay-at-home order last month as the pandemic took hold.

There are more than 33,000 COVID-19 positive cases and more than 1,200 coronavirus-related deaths in the state, home to close to 40 million people. Adjusted for population, California is ranked in the bottom half in both categories among U.S. states.

Amid lobbying from some local officials to carve them out from California’s statewide stay-at-home order, Mr. Newsom on Monday said they can’t move too hastily.

“None of these local health directives can go further or, rather, go farther backward than the state guidance,” he said.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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