Maybe it was meant to be a balancing act – that address given Tuesday noon by California’s governor. Looks like we could be holding our breath for a while.

Gov. Gavin Newsom had us all sitting up for the talk that was reportedly going to review the possibilities and practicalities of easing restrictions and opening the California economy.

Sure enough, he outlined the conditions that would have to be met. What’s obvious is that we aren’t there yet. And we’re even wondering if it’s likely to get all the way there. Not soon, it seems.

Not that the conditions he set aren’t mostly reasonable. It’s going to be the degree to which they’re met that the art of the deal comes into play.

In his memo, posted on the governor’s web page (, he listed the six key indicators that would “guide California’s thinking for when and how to modify the stay-at-home and other orders during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

He, like other governors, was quick to note progress in “flattening the curve,” the increased preparedness of healthcare delivery and that the other interventions have all had positive effects. And he acknowledged, in a manner, that the cure itself was exacting a toll. But then he pulled the curtains back on the brick wall that’s still firmly in place:

“Any consideration of modifying the stay-at-home order must be done using a gradual, science-based and data-driven framework,” according to the message.

He noted that until we build immunity, actions must be aligned to:

– Ensure our ability to care for the sick in our hospitals.

– Prevent infection in people at high risk.

– Build capacity to protect public health.

– Reduce social, emotional and economic disruptions.

And the big six indicators:

– The ability to monitor and protect communities by testing, contact tracing, isolating and supporting those who test positive or have been exposed.

– The ability to prevent infection in people at risk for more severe symptoms.

– The ability of hospitals to handle surges.

– The ability to develop therapeutics to meet demand.

– The ability for businesses, schools, and childcare facilities to support physical distancing.

– The ability to determine when to reinstitute restrictions when needed.

Maybe the idea is that by focusing on the conditions for lifting restrictions, we all come to understand the merit or harm of our actions and the importance of our institutions and leaders to be fully engaged in moving us along.

Mostly what it tells us is that, yes, they’re considering the parameters of eventually easing restrictions. And that’s what we want to hear. But put the emphasis on “eventually.”

We’re not trying to be a downer – we’re proud of what our state has accomplished and how most of our community members are taking things seriously. We’re just saying, don’t get cozy with the idea that this will be over real soon.

Our View editorials represent the opinion of the Appeal-Democrat and its editorial board and are edited by the publisher and/or editor. Members of the editorial board include: Publisher Glenn Stifflemire and Editor Steve Miller.

Recommended for you