Curfew Instated in Majority of California Counties as COVID-19 Cases Surge

As COVID-19 cases continue to climb across California, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Thursday that he has instated a “limited stay-at-home order” to take effect today, Nov. 21.

The curfew will affect all counties in the purple tier, which currently includes 41 out of the state’s 58 counties. Though it is not a full lockdown, the order is aimed to pause all non-essential work and gatherings from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. each night. In addition, movement and gatherings during the hours have been prohibited.

The order will remain in effect until Dec. 21 in an attempt to halt rising COVID-19 cases across the state. On Nov. 16, California broke its record for the highest COVID-19 cases reported in a single day, with 13,412 cases. In addition, over the last two weeks, COVID-19 hospitalizations have increased more than 60%.

In a tweet on Thursday, Newsom outlined the basics of the order, writing that “Non-essential work and gatherings must stop from 10 p.m. – 5 a.m. in counties in the purple tier. This will take effect at 10 p.m. on Saturday and remain for 1 month. Together — we can flatten the curve again.”

During a press briefing on Thursday, California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly helped to define what is and is not prohibited during the curfew period. According to Ghaly, activities such as a late-night grocery run or picking up takeout from a restaurant are allowed, as those businesses are still deemed essential. However, sit-down dining at restaurants is not and will be prohibited after 10 p.m.

Although all gatherings should be avoided during the curfew hours, residents can still partake in outdoor physical activities, such as walking a pet or going for a run.

Though Ghaly admitted it will be hard to police everyone’s whereabouts, he said he is hoping that this curfew can be a “partnership” between state officials and citizens.

“We know that’s hard to imagine how to enforce. Some of you may say, ‘Well, how am I ever going to be known if I’m doing that at home?’” Ghaly said during Thursday’s press briefing. “We’ve depended on a partnership with all of you and this is about coming together.”

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