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.
Under the new order non-essential businesses such as restaurants will have to close at 10pm. Pictured: Diners are served at a restaurant in Hollywood on Wednesday
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.
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
The new stay-at-home order comes as Newsom continues to weather sharp criticism for attending a birthday dinner at The French Laundry, a Michelin star restaurant in Napa Valley, just days before advising Californians not to host indoor Thanksgiving dinners.
NEWSOM’S THANKSGIVING RULES
- Three households mixing at a maximum
- No longer than 2 hours together
- All festivities must be outdoors; people ‘can go indoors to use the bathroom’
- Hosts must take information for contact tracing
Photos of the gathering on November 6 were released on Saturday, showing the governor and his wife Jennifer Siebel Newsom sitting at a table surrounded by at least 10 friends, none of them wearing masks.
It was a 50th birthday party for Jason Kinney, one of Newsom’s political advisers, and witnesses from the restaurant say that at one stage, the doors were closed so the group was completely inside.
Two top officials at the California Medical Association – CEO Dustin Corcoran and Senior Vice President Janus Norman – were also among those in attendance. The CMA represents 50,000 doctors in the nation’s most populous state and has recently tweeted messages including #StayHome and #WearAMask.
‘The dinner was held in accordance with state and county guidelines,’ CMA spokesman Anthony York told the Associated Press in an emailed statement Tuesday.
The CMA is considered a lobbying powerhouse in Sacramento. Last year, the organization spent $2.1million lobbying state leaders.
This year, CMA successfully lobbied Newsom and the Democratic supermajority in the state legislature not to slash Medi-Cal reimbursement rates funded by a 2016 tax on tobacco, according to POLITICO.
The new stay-at-home order comes as Newsom continues to weather sharp criticism for attending a birthday dinner at The French Laundry, a Michelin star restaurant in Napa Valley
Photos of the gathering on November 6 were released on Saturday, showing the governor and his wife Jennifer Siebel Newsom sitting at a table surrounded by at least 10 friends, none of them wearing masks
Before the photos emerged, Newsom apologized for the outing, he should not have gone and should be setting a better example. He also claimed he did not know how many people would be there.
‘I made a bad mistake. should have stood up and … drove back to my house. The spirit of what I’m preaching all the time was contradicted. I need to preach and practice, not just preach.
‘You have to own it, and you have to be forthright and I’m doing my best every single day in trying to model better behavior,’ he said.
A witness from his dinner told Fox11 Los Angeles: ‘There was a very loud party going on in a room 20 feet from us.
‘It got louder and louder and so [the staff] had some sliding glass doors that they were able to close, so then it was a closed-off room.’
‘I happened to look over and realized, hey is that Gavin Newsom? I did ask one of the waitresses and she confirmed it was.
‘Nobody was wearing a mask. It was a very large group of people shoulder to shoulder, something that he’s always telling us not to do so it was a bit annoying.’
Kinney’s spokesman previously said the dinner was outdoors.
‘This was a small, intimate, 12-person dinner held outdoors with family and a few close friends to celebrate a 50th birthday,’ said Molly Weedn, a spokeswoman for Kinney.
‘The restaurant was open for normal dining, consistent with state and county health guidance. All of the restaurant safety protocols were adhered to — and the guests followed those protocols.’
The room is closed on three sides and covered by a roof, with a large glass sliding door opening out into a courtyard at the front.
A door appears to have been pulled halfway across the room, and guests can be seen sitting in their coats.
Guests are clearly not wearing face masks – something that is recommended but not required while dining – and are sitting less than 6ft away from each-other.
This is the dining room where Gavin Newsom ate on November 6 with at least ten others. None were wearing masks and witnesses say the restaurant shut french doors on the group because they were being so loud, turning it from a partially outdoor room into one that was completely indoors
Example of the menu at the 3-star Michelin restaurant where Gov. Newsom dined with his 11 friends. The hand rolled ricotta dish with truffles carries a $175 supplement
California guidelines issued on October 9 and in place when the dinner took place on November 6 state: ‘Gatherings may occur in outdoor spaces… provided that at least three sides of the space (or 75%) are open to the outdoors.
‘Seating must provide at least 6 feet of distance (in all directions—front-to-back and side-to-side) between different households. Gatherings that include more than 3 households are prohibited.’
However, separate guidelines for restaurants in place at the same time say only that outdoor seating should be ‘prioritized’ and that guests can be seated within six feet.
On the issue of households, the guidelines state only: ‘Limit the number of patrons at a single table to a household unit or patrons who have asked to be seated together.’
News of the French Laundry dinner emerged as case numbers in California rose and as Newsom chastised people for ‘letting their guard down’ during gatherings.
Last Friday the governor urged California residents not to travel out of the state for the holidays and imposed a two-week quarantine for those who do when they arrive back home.
A group of California lawmakers ignored that advice and traveled to Hawaii for a policy conference this week – heightening public outrage that officials aren’t practicing what they preach.
At least seven assemblymembers and one state senator from districts around California are among the 75 people attending this week’s conference hosted by the Independent Voter Project (IVP) at the five-star Fairmont Kea Lani Hotel in Wailea, Maui, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Several of those legislators have now come out to defend their decision to ignore California’s travel warnings – arguing that their attending the conference was important because it includes discussions about pandemic policies.
The IVP conference began on Monday – the same day that Newsom announced 41 of California’s 58 counties would be moving into the purple tier – up from 13 counties last week.
IVP has declined to disclose which California legislators are attending the conference but eight names emerged anyway – with some identifying themselves and others staying silent.
The eight are: Assemblyman Frank Bigelow (R – O’Neals), State Senator Andreas Borgeas (R – Modesto), Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo (D – Los Angeles), Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham (R – Pasa Robles), Assemblyman Heath Flora (R – Ripon), Assemblyman Chad Mayes (I – Rancho Mirage), Assemblyman Jose Medina (D – Riverside) and Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio (D – Baldwin Park).
Eight California lawmakers came under fire for flying to Hawaii for a policy conference this week despite health officials warning against out-of-state travel. Four of them are pictured (left to right): Assemblyman Frank Bigelow (R – O’Neals), State Senator Andreas Borgeas (R – Modesto), Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo (D – Los Angeles), Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham (R – Pasa Robles)
The other four legislators reportedly attending the conference are (left to right): Assemblyman Heath Flora (R – Ripon), Assemblyman Chad Mayes (I – Rancho Mirage), Assemblyman Jose Medina (D – Riverside) and Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio (D – Baldwin Park)
A total of 75 people are in attendance at the conference hosted by the Independent Voter Project (IVP) at the Fairmont Kea Lani Hotel (pictured) in Wailea, Maui