LOS ANGELES — 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 that nonessential work, movement, and gatherings stop between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. in counties in the purple tier.
The order will take effect at 10 p.m., Saturday, November 21, and remain in effect until 5 a.m., December 21.
It affects counties with the most severe restrictions, 41 of the state’s 58 counties that are in the “purple” tier under California’s color-coded system for reopening the economy. That covers 94% of the state’s nearly 40 million residents.
All Southern California counties are in the restrictive tier.
This is the same as the March Stay at Home Order, but applied only between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. 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 Governor 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.”
While nonessential businesses must close by 10 p.m., restaurants will be permitted to offer takeout food and people can perform some routine activities like walking the dog, officials said. They will still be able to get medical care, pick up prescriptions and take care of other essential needs.
Officials said overnight movements are more likely to involve social activities that bring increased risk of infection, particularly if people drink and let down their guard on basic safety precautions like wearing masks and staying a safe distance apart.
“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 in a statement. “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.”
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva issued a statement via Twitter Thursday night saying he is aware of the order, but will largely rely on the public to comply voluntarily.
Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes issued a statement saying his agency would be more focused on "emergency calls."
Republican Assemblyman James Gallagher, who is suing the governor over his earlier emergency orders, said the latest move will further harm businesses that are already struggling.
“None of these orders matter unless Californians buy in and change their behavior,” Gallagher said in a statement. "The better policy to respond to this spike in cases is to call on all Californians to step up and make responsible choices to follow basic health guidelines to limit the spread without shackling our freedoms and the economy. A curfew undermines the public’s faith that the guidelines are science-driven.”
Los Angeles County health officials on Thursday announced 5,031 new coronavirus cases, the highest single-day total reported since the pandemic began. County Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis said the county's surging numbers have now exceeded the spike seen in mid-summer, jumping 68% since the end of October, compared to a 43% increase that occurred between mid-June and early July.
"At this point, no one should be still underestimating the spread of this virus, nor should anyone be questioning the actions we still need to slow the spread and lessen its impact on our collective health and our local economy," Davis said.