SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) — Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday that the state has dispersed more than $10 billion in unemployment insurance throughout the state since March 15, shortly before the state’s COVID-19 coronavirus shelter-in-place order began.

Roughly 4.1 million California residents have received about $10.1 billion in unemployment insurance, including roughly 450,000 people who are self-employed.

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“This is unprecedented in our state’s history,” Newsom said. “These are numbers that no one thought they’d see in our lifetime.”


Newsom said he plans to work with the state Legislature to include more protections for self-employed and gig economy workers in the May revision of the state budget, which legislators must pass by June 15.

For essential workers and workers whose businesses may open in the next week as the state begins modifying its stay-at-home order, Newsom said the state has procured millions of protective masks and other items in recent weeks. The state has dispersed some 14 million protective items and still has a stockpile of nearly 20 million items that are ready for use.

The state has prioritized health care workers, first responders and workers in skilled nursing and assisted living facilities for protective gear, but Newsom said grocery and retail workers will begin receiving protective items from the state very soon.

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“I can assure you, all of these months, we have never had so many procedure masks, surgical masks in our possession, now able to be distributed all across the state of California,” Newsom said.

The state is still planning to allow some low-risk businesses and industries to resume operations on Friday. However, Newsom chastised a handful of northern California counties who have announced their intentions to open higher-risk businesses such as hair salons and dine-in restaurants.

“They’re making a big mistake,” Newsom said of Yuba and Sutter counties. “They’re putting their public at risk, they’re putting (the state’s) progress at risk.”

Health officials around the state have confirmed a total of 56,212 coronavirus cases, including 2,317 deaths, according to Newsom. In addition, 1,157 people are in intensive care due to the virus and 3,369 are currently hospitalized across the state.


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