Santa Clarita Valley residents and the rest of California are now ordered to stay at home and most businesses must close, under a new statewide measure issued on Thursday, aimed at diminishing the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
“This is a moment where we need some straight talk, and we need to tell people the truth,” Gov. Gavin Newsom announced via a live broadcast Thursday. “We need to bend the curve in the state of California and in order to do that, we need to recognize reality.”
The governor’s directive has no deadline “but we will be very transparent with you and very forthright in the next couple of days and weeks to update you,” he said.
Newsom’s message to about 40 million residents aims to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and prevent inundation of sick patients at hospitals, as the state projects more than half of California’s population, or about 25.5 million people, will be infected with the coronavirus over the next eight weeks, according to the governor’s letter to President Donald Trump.
Santa Clarita Mayor Cameron Smyth said it is important for local residents to listen to the directives and practice social distancing recommendations.
“The more aggressively we approach these orders, the sooner they can be lifted,” he said. “That being said, Santa Clarita is no stranger to adversity. Just in October, starting with the Tick Fire and the largest evacuation in our history, followed by the tragedy at Saugus High School, the community has come together time and time again to meet the challenges. I have no doubt that this will be the same.”
Just moments before Newsom’s announcement, the county of Los Angeles issued a similar order for residents to stay at home via a new measure called “Safer at Home.”
The county’s order was to begin at midnight Thursday and is expected to continue until April 19. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, whose district includes the SCV, and city of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti made the announcement, emphasizing the need to increase social distancing countywide.
Businesses deemed nonessential, such as retail stores and malls, must temporarily halt operations by Friday under the latest directive.
“The order, which we are calling Safer at Home, is the next step to protecting our residents from the coronavirus by increasing social distancing,” said Barger. “We know that staying at home and limiting close contact is the best way to prevent community spread. We know that social distancing does not mean restriction from going outside and does not mean isolation.”
Under the latest directive, you can:
- Go to the grocery store and order food delivery.
- Get medicine or supplies, or go to medical appointments after checking with your doctor.
- Go to the bank or post office.
- Call a plumber, electrician or exterminator.
- Go to the gas station or auto repair shop.
- Ride public transit, walk, bike or drive.
What you cannot do:
- Host a gathering larger than 10 people.
- Hoard supplies or overbuy.
- Dine in at restaurants or go to a bar.
- Go to a nonessential retail store or mall.
- Put seniors or those with underlying health conditions at risk.
- Maintain less than 6 feet of distance from people if you go out.
Both Newsom and county officials reiterated that they do not want to force people to stay home, but instead rely upon the “social contract” to stay home.
“We still encourage people to stay connected to their community and their loved ones in creative ways and to spend much-needed time outdoors,” said Barger. “Being Safer at Home doesn’t mean being alone — you are still an important part of your community.”
The orders come after the county announced a total of 230 patients with COVID-19 and its second death, and across California, with a total of 958 confirmed cases and 19 deaths as of Thursday. As of Thursday there were a total of five cases reported in the Santa Clarita Valley.