On Nov. 19 the state of California announced it was implementing a “limited stay-at-home order.” This order would restrict activities between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. in all counties in Tier One/Purple of the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy metric. Restricted activities include all nonessential businesses and social gatherings. Restaurants would have to close to all but take-out and delivery by 10 p.m. each night. Essentially, between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. it would be a return to early March restrictions.
The order goes into effect on Nov. 21 and will remain in effect until 5 a.m. on Dec. 21.
This order comes in response to skyrocketing virus numbers in California, which has seen a 52% increase in the testing positivity rate in the last two weeks. This represents an even steeper climb than was experienced during a previous peak in mid-June, which saw a 39.2% increase.
The state case number on Nov. 18 was 11,478 new cases, with a seven-day average of 9,665. That increase, according to California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly is with a drop in overall testing, from over 200,000 to 133,985 in the past seven days.
COVID-related hospitalizations are up 63.6% (currently 4,523) and ICU hospitalizations are up 40.5% (currently 1,155).
In a statement from Erica S. Pan, acting state public health officer, announced she was “issuing a limited stay at home order, effective in counties under Tier One (Purple) of California's Blueprint for a Safer Economy, requiring that all gatherings with members of other households and all activities conducted outside the residence, lodging, or temporary accommodation with members of other households cease between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., except for those activities associated with the operation, maintenance, or usage of critical infrastructure or required by law. This order does not apply to persons experiencing homelessness. 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.
“This limited stay at home order will reduce opportunities for disease transmission with the goal of decreasing the number of hours individuals are in the community and mixing with individuals outside of their household. Every intervention to decrease mixing of households is critical during this unparalleled increase in case rate rise of about 50 percent during the first week in November. In particular, activities conducted during 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. are often nonessential and more likely related to social activities and gatherings that have a higher likelihood of leading to reduced inhibition and reduced likelihood to adhere to COVID-19 preventive measures (e.g., wearing face coverings and maintaining physical distance).”
In a briefing, Ghaly warned that if these orders are not taken seriously, even more restrictions could be brought to bear. “We’re going to have to keep our guard up and make tough choices. If you had planned on being a part of a gathering next week and feel with the news today it’s not safe, then they should pick up and call those they were going gather with and make a different decision. It will pay off in long run for all of us … but we have other tools on the shelf, and if we have to use them we will.”
This order also comes on the heels of the governor “pulling the emergency brake” earlier in the week, increasing masking requirements and shifting the majority of California counties into the purple tier.
According to Ghaly, in coming days more explicit instructions and lists of effected businesses will be available at https://covid19.ca.gov.