Governor Gavin Newsom is imposing an overnight curfew on more than 37.75 million Californians for the next month as the state battles an alarming surge in coronavirus cases.
Newsom announced the ‘limited stay-at-home order’ banning non-essential work and gatherings between 10pm and 5am on Thursday, as the state recorded its highest number of daily new COVID-19 cases since August with 11,478.
The order will go into effect on Saturday in counties that are in the purple tier of the state’s color-coded system for reopening the economy. Forty-one out of California’s 58 counties – 94 percent of the state population – are in that tier.
The move comes just days after the state imposed restrictions limiting business operations in purple counties, which have the most significant increases in virus cases with positivity rates exceeding eight percent.
‘The virus is spreading at a pace we haven’t seen since the start of this pandemic and the next several days and weeks will be critical to stop the surge. We are sounding the alarm,’ the governor said.
‘It is crucial that we act to decrease transmission and slow hospitalizations before the death count surges. We’ve done it before and we must do it again.’
California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a ‘limited stay-at-home order’ banning non-essential work and gatherings between 10pm and 5am for the next month on Thursday
The order affects 41 counties in California’s most restrictive purple COVID-19 reopening tier
The order will last one month, until December 21, but could be extended if infection rates and disease trends don’t improve, according to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).
While non-essential businesses must close by10 pm, restaurants will be permitted to offer takeout food and people can perform some routine activities like walking the dog.
Residents will still be able to get medical care, pick up prescriptions and take care of other essential needs.
‘Activities conducted during 10 PM to 5 AM are often non-essential and more likely related to social activities and gatherings that have a higher likelihood of leading to reduced inhibition and reduced likelihood for adherence to safety measures like wearing a face covering and maintaining physical distance,’ the CDPH said in a news release.
Newsom’s latest order mirrors the one he imposed in March, except that this time it is limited to the highest-risk counties and only affects overnight hours.
‘We know from our stay at home order this spring, which flattened the curve in California, that reducing the movement and mixing of individuals dramatically decreases COVID-19 spread, hospitalizations, and deaths,’ California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr Mark Ghaly said.
‘We may need to take more stringent actions if we are unable to flatten the curve quickly. Taking these hard, temporary actions now could help prevent future shutdowns.’
Newsom and state health officials have significantly ramped up warnings about the virus in recent weeks after the state saw a 50 percent increase in new cases during the first week of November.
California has logged 1,059,267 cases and 18,466 deaths as of Thursday evening. The state’s seven-day average of new daily cases now stands at 9,665, with a positivity rate of five percent – up 1.7 percent from November 5.
The new stay-at-home order comes as Newsom continues to weather sharp criticism for attending a birthday dinner with at least 10 people at The French Laundry, a Michelin star restaurant in Napa Valley, just days before advising Californians not to host indoor Thanksgiving dinners.
This is a developing story.
California had logged 1,059,267 cases and 18,466 deaths to date as of Thursday evening
The state’s positivity rate currently stands at five percent – up 1.7 percent from two weeks ago