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California Announces Curfew to Slow Spread of COVID-19 in Purple Tier Counties

Newsom during a press conference Monday. | Screenshot from California Governor Gavin Newsom on YouTube

Non-essential businesses and personal gatherings are prohibited between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. beginning Saturday, Nov. 21 at 10 p.m.

In light of an unprecedented, rapid rise in COVID-19 cases across California, Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced Thursday a “limited” stay-at-home order requiring generally that non-essential 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, Nov. 21 and remain in effect until 5 a.m. Dec. 21. 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 the governor. “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.”

A statement issued by the governor’s office explains why the state is imposing a “limited” stay-at-home order: “Activities conducted during 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. 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.” 

COVID-19 case rates increased by approximately 50% in California during the first week of November. As a result, Governor 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,” putting more than 94% of California’s population in the most restrictive Purple Tier. The state will reassess data continuously and move more counties back into a more restrictive tier, if necessary. California also strengthened its face covering guidance to require individuals to wear a mask whenever outside their home, with limited exceptions.

Last Friday, the state issued a travel advisory, along with Oregon and Washington, urging people entering the state or returning home to quarantine for 14 days to after arriving from another state or country, and encourages residents to stay local. The travel advisory also urges against nonessential out-of-state travel and encourages residents to stay local this upcoming holiday season.

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