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22 Feb

February 2022: California Governor Announces Next Phase of State’s COVID-19 Response Plan

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Update Applicable to:
All employers in the state of California

What happened?
On February 17, 2022, Governor Newsom unveiled California’s SMARTER Plan, which is the next phase of the state’s pandemic response.

What are the details?
Governor Newsom emphasized that this new phase moves the state away from a crisis mentality to a framework that involves a more intentional, strategic, and informed handling of the pandemic that builds on the knowledge and experience gained over the course of the last two years.

According to Governor Newsom’s office, “SMARTER” stands for:

  • Shots – Vaccines are the most powerful weapon against hospitalization and serious illness.
  • Masks – Properly worn masks with good filtration help slow the spread of COVID-19 or other respiratory viruses.
  • Awareness – We will continue to stay aware of how COVID-19 is spreading, evolving variants, communicate clearly how people should protect themselves, and coordinate our state and local government response.
  • Readiness – COVID-19 isn’t going away and we need to be ready with the tools, resources, and supplies we will need to quickly respond and keep public health and the healthcare system well prepared.
  • Testing – Getting the right type of tests — PCR or antigen — to where they are needed most. Testing will help California minimize the spread of COVID-19.
  • Education – California will continue to work to keep schools open and maintain children’s safety in classrooms for in-person instruction.
  • Rx – Evolving and improving treatments will become increasingly available and critical as a tool to save lives.

While moving into a new phase of addressing COVID-19, the SMARTER Plan also outlines specific steps to anticipate and prepare for the future unknowns. For example, the “S” for “Shots” is not only referencing an individual’s ability to protect themselves by way of the vaccine but includes the state’s capacity to administer “at least 200,000 vaccines per day” on top of existing pharmacy and provider infrastructure. Additionally, while the “M” for “Masks” represents the proper wearing of masks to help slow the spread, it also represents maintaining a “stockpile of 75 million high-quality masks” and the capability to distribute personal protective equipment (PPE) distribution as needed

Under the SMARTER Plan, the state will continue to quickly evaluate the data and best determine how to address future challenges that the virus may bring. 

For more information, please see the links below:


Office of Governor Gavin Newsom Announcement


What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the links provided above and stay on the lookout for any updates regarding the SMARTER Plan.

Vensure Employer Services will continue to monitor this and send out communications once more news has been received.


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