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California will impose 'limited' curfew due to COVID-19 surge

California will impose 'limited' curfew due to COVID-19 surge

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Gavin Newsom

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks at a COVID-19 testing facility in Valencia.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has announced a mandatory overnight stay-at-home order that will be instituted throughout most of California to combat a surge in new coronavirus cases, a measure that comes just days after the governor enacted a dramatic rollback of reopening in much of the state.

The order issued by the California Department of Public Health will prohibit most nonessential activity outside the home from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m in counties in the strictest tier of the state’s reopening roadmap — the purple tier. This order covers Napa County which dropped into the purple tier on Tuesday.

The restriction goes into place on Saturday and lasts through Dec. 21, though it could be extended.

“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 statement released Thursday afternoon. “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.”

Roughly 94% of Californians — 37 million people — live in counties that are in the purple tier, which has forced many businesses in those communities to suspend or severely restrict the number of customers allowed indoors.

The state has reported more than 10,000 new daily cases four times since last Thursday. California has not experienced a daily case count this high since the outbreak began, even during the surge in the summer that stands as the state’s deadliest time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are asking Californians to change their personal behaviors to stop the surge. We must be strong together and make tough decisions to stay socially connected but physically distanced during this critical time. Letting our guard down could put thousands of lives in danger and cripple our healthcare system,” said Dr. Erica Pan, the state’s acting public health officer.

The decision mirrors efforts made to slow the virus in Los Angeles County, which announced earlier this week that restaurants, breweries, bars, wineries and nonessential retail establishments would close from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. beginning Friday.

More than 4,300 people were hospitalized with a confirmed case of the virus statewide as of Wednesday, marking a 61% increase from two weeks ago. Los Angeles County reported 5,000 new cases Thursday — a single-day record since the pandemic began.

Aside from the limited nighttime hours, the restrictions will be similar to those in the statewide stay-at-home order Newsom issued in mid-March, which were replaced later replaced by the state’s four-stage reopening plan. Californians in the affected counties will still be allowed to buy groceries, pick up restaurant takeout orders, visit doctors or other healthcare providers and other providers of essential services.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

Editor’s Note: Because of the health implications of the COVID-19 virus, this article is being made available free to all online readers. If you’d like to join us in supporting the mission of local journalism, please visit napavalleyregister.com/members/join/.

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