California just issued a sweeping curfew because of the unflagging surge in Covid-19.
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the order on Twitter, saying the mandate takes effect Saturday, requires people to stay home from 10pm to 5am and is expected to last a month. “Together, we can flatten the curve again,” he tweeted.
Due to the rise in #COVID19 cases, CA is issuing a limited Stay at Home Order.
Non-essential work and gatherings must stop from 10pm-5am in counties in the purple tier.
This will take effect at 10pm on Saturday and remain for 1 month.
Together--we can flatten the curve again.
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) November 19, 2020
The curfew applies to counties in the Purple Tier, which imposes state’s most restrictive public health guidelines. That’s just about 95 percent of California and definitely includes Santa Clara County, where Covid-19 cases today ticked up to 29,631 with 459 deaths.
Ohio recently ordered a curfew and Oregon is poised to follow suit, prompting some debate about the effectiveness of schedule restriction as a public health measure.
The jury’s still out on that one.
Some studies found curfews helpful if used with other mitigation efforts. And some experts say time limits might prevent folks from frequenting high-risk environments like casinos, restaurants, bars and other places that tend to get busier as the night goes on.
Another question for Newsom and his gubernatorial peers: are curfews worth the blowback? Conversations about enforcement have already become politically charged.
California’s curfew announcement makes no mention of how state officials plan to enforce the order. If they defer to local authorities, that may mean—depending on where you are—it won’t really have teeth.
In Sacramento County, where Newsom unveiled the curfew, Sheriff Scott Jones was quick to say he has no intention of enforcing the rule.
The curfew would have prompted backlash regardless, but pandemic-weary critics had plenty of ammo with Newsom already under scrutiny after photos leaked of him mingling with lobbyists at the three-Michelin-star restaurant French Laundry.
Have seen approximately 1.8 million versions of this reaction https://t.co/zgz43jT6p2
— Jeremy B. White (@JeremyBWhite) November 19, 2020
Speaking of dining establishments, they’ll be limited to takeout only once the clock strikes 10 each night the curfew’s in effect.
In a press release sent to reporters this afternoon, the governor compared the impending stay-at-home order to the one issued in March, when officials first imposed public health orders to curb the coronavirus pandemic.
“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,” he said. “We are sounding the alarm. 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.”
Below is a copy of the curfew announcement from the California governor’s office.
State Issues Limited Stay-at-Home Order to Slow Spread of Covid-19
Non-essential businesses and personal gatherings are prohibited between 10pm and 5am beginning Saturday, Nov. 21, at 10pm
SACRAMENTO—In light of an unprecedented, rapid rise in Covid-19 cases across California, Gov. Gavin Newsom and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) today announced a limited stay-at-home order requiring generally that non-essential work, movement and gatherings stop between 10pm and 5am in counties in the purple tier.
The order will take effect at 10pm Saturday, Nov. 21, and remain in effect until 5am Dec. 21. This is the same as the March stay-at-home order, but applied only between 10pm and 5am and only in purple tier counties that are seeing the highest rates of positive cases and hospitalizations.
“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,” said Gov. Newsom. “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.”
This limited stay-at-home order is designed to reduce opportunities for disease transmission. Activities conducted during 10pm to 5am 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.
“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,” said California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly. “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.”
“We are asking Californians to change their personal behaviors to stop the surge. We must be strong together and make tough decisions to stay socially connected but physically distanced during this critical time. Letting our guard down could put thousands of lives in danger and cripple our health care system,” said Dr. Erica Pan, the state’s acting Public Health Officer. “It is especially important that we band together to protect those most vulnerable around us as well as essential workers who are continuing their critical work amidst this next wave of widespread community transmission across the state. Together we prevented a public health crisis in the spring and together we can do it again.”
Covid-19 case rates increased by approximately 50 percent in California during the first week of November. As a result, Gov. Newsom and California’s public health officials have announced a list of measures to protect Californians and the state’s health care system, which could experience an unprecedented surge if cases continue their steep climb.
On Monday, the state pulled an emergency brake in the Blueprint for a Safer Economy putting more than 94 percent of California’s population in the most restrictive tier. The state will reassess data continuously and move more counties back into a more restrictive tier, if necessary.
California is also strengthening its face covering guidance to require individuals to wear a mask whenever outside their home, with limited exceptions.
Late last week, the state issued a travel advisory, along with Oregon and Washington, urging people entering the state or returning home from travel outside the state to self-quarantine to slow the spread of the virus. The advisory urges against non-essential out-of-state travel, asks people to self-quarantine for 14 days after arriving from another state or country, and encourages residents to stay local.
Dr. Ghaly provided additional details on the curfew and other public health rules in a live-streamed press conference, which you can watch below.