The nation’s most populous state is heading to the weekend and faces the most serious coronavirus restrictions since the stay-at-home order this spring.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom has ordered a curfew on all social gatherings and non-essential activities outside the home across much of the state, in a major escalation of measures to curb the alarming spike in infections. The move came just days after Newsom announced that it would withdraw “emergency brakes” upon reopening, returning most of the state to the most dangerous category for the virus.
So what will he allow and will he succeed? Here’s everything you need to know.
What are the new restrictions?
The new curfew restrictions, which take effect on Saturday, will run from 10 pm until 5 am every day. It is set to expire on December 21, but can be extended for a longer period if needed. Los Angeles has also imposed its own curfew with similar regulations that can be extended even if the state’s mandate expires.
The order will be implemented in 41 of the state’s 58 counties, where the virus is spreading most rapidly. These 41 counties make up the vast majority (94%) of the population.
The curfew is less stringent than the near-total ban on business and non-essential travel imposed by Newsom in March, which has been credited with leveling the rate of Covid-19 cases, despite the height of the summer.
The new application does not close any business. However, non-essential businesses should close their doors by 10 PM, although restaurants will be allowed to serve fast food and delivery after that time. The directive does not apply to homeless people.
Officials said people could perform some routine activities such as dog walking. They will still be able to access medical care, pick up prescriptions, and take care of other basic needs.
Why does this happen?
The new restrictions come as California faces its most serious increase in cases since the pandemic began.
The number of hospitalizations has increased by nearly 64% in two weeks and the positivity rate has increased by more than 50% and now stands at 5.6% in the past seven days. California as a whole and Los Angeles in particular broke records this week with unprecedented increases. Los Angeles County saw nearly 5,000 new cases of coronavirus on Thursday – according to the Los Angeles Times numbers – the most it has seen in any day since the pandemic began. The data also found that across the state, 13,422 new cases were also reported on the same day.
Newsom said in a statement announcing this measure: “The virus is spreading at a rate not seen since the beginning of this epidemic, and the next several days and weeks will be crucial to stop the increase.”
Ghali said about 12% of positive cases ultimately require hospitalization, which means that based on the total number for just one day, around 1,200 people will be in hospitals within two to three weeks.
“There isn’t a single culprit” for hiking, Ghali said, but he noted among other things that people are mixing more inside and out, especially at celebrations and holidays like Halloween and before Thanksgiving, when many tend to congregate with family and friends.
Is California alone in making this move?
California isn’t the only state in the US that is introducing measures to restrict nighttime activities to slow the spread of the disease. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo imposed a similar order on November 13, imposing a 10 p.m. curfew in bars, restaurants and gyms and limiting the number of people allowed to home gatherings to 10.
Stephanie McCloud, director of the Ohio Department of Health, signed a health order Thursday requiring Ohioans to stay home between 10 PM and 5 AM through December 10. It offers exemptions similar to the California request, allowing people to seek medical treatment, pick up junk food, go to work, and go grocery shopping. First Amendment activities and religious services may also receive exemptions.
Violating the order in Ohio can lead to 90 days in prison and a $ 750 fine, although it is not expected to be enforced strictly.
Does curfew work?
The decision to impose curfews in California, Ohio, and elsewhere faced severe reactions from those who oppose the restrictions on business. California Republican Rally member Devon Mattis said Newsom’s request was “a huge overrun,” especially given that a vaccine is on the horizon (Pfizer has applied for emergency clearance to start releasing vaccines today).
“It’s clear that they’re targeting people who are having parties,” Mattis said.
Republican State Councilor James Gallagher strongly criticized the governor’s actions, saying, “An arbitrary curfew will only serve to further destroy ailing businesses that are already facing some of the toughest hurdles in the country.”
The mayor of Sacramento County said in a statement on Thursday afternoon that the police forces there are not planning to impose a curfew, while Fresno said it is counting on the commitment of residents “voluntarily”.
Other leaders in California expressed support for the measure. Robert Garcia, Mayor of Long Beach, He said Thursday It “will save lives and provide relief for our hospitals and our health care system,” and urged other states to follow the California approach.
The effectiveness of such policies has been questioned. One of the most important resources on the coronavirus pandemic, experts at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said the best way to slow the spread of the coronavirus is to “shut down high-risk activities as the epidemic worsens and restart work. Orders where healthcare systems are in crisis” – don’t impose curfew.
In fact, some say these measures may increase the incidence of the home parties that are being blamed for the current rally.
Dr. Amish Adalja, a senior researcher at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, said.
Agencies contributed to the reporting.