State issues stay-at-home order amid COVID-19 surge

Gov. Gavin Newsom

Californians will once again be ordered to stay at home, with non-essential work and gatherings ordered to stop from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. in counties in the purple tier, under a new limited stay-at-home order aimed at stopping the alarming surge in COVID-19 cases, effective Saturday for one month.

Gov. Gavin Newsom broke the news Thursday on Twitter, with the new order being released by the California Department of Public Health shortly afterward.

The new order, effective 10 p.m. Saturday until 5 a.m. Dec. 21, requires non-essential work, movement and gatherings stop between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. in counties in the purple tier. State officials stopped short of calling the order a curfew.

“We’re asking that as part of this targeted, limited stay-at-home order that people are home by 10 (p.m.) and stay home until 5 a.m.,” California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said during a news conference Thursday, noting that you can still go to the grocery or drug store, walk your dog, or get takeout from a restaurant, for example, during these hours. 

“Nothing in this order prevents any number of persons from the same household from leaving their residence, lodging or temporary accommodation, as long as they do not engage in any interaction with (or otherwise gather with) any number of persons from any other household, except as specifically permitted herein,” the order states.

“Frankly, this is going to help us stop the surge faster and avoid more severe actions and restrictions,” Ghaly added.

These restrictions are similar to those released by L.A. County Tuesday, which include the mandatory closure of all non-essential businesses between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., though L.A. County’s order does not restrict movement or prohibit gatherings during those times.

“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,” Newsom said in a prepared statement. “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 order is designed to reduce opportunities for COVID-19 transmission, with the goal of decreasing the number of hours individuals are in the community and mixing with individuals outside of their household, per the order.

This comes after Newsom announced Monday a rollback on reopening in 37 counties due to the growth in the number of COVID-19 cases, followed by the tightening on restrictions being announced in L.A. County Tuesday.

All the same, COVID-19 case numbers continued to rise, with L.A. County Department of Public Health officials reporting more than 5,000 COVID-19 cases Thursday, the highest number of daily cases since the onset of the pandemic.

Ghaly also noted that L.A. County has seen a 147% increase in new cases from Nov. 1 to Wednesday.

This is a breaking news story, and will be updated as more information becomes available.

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