85 Percent of California Will Be Home for Christmas Under Lockdown

Nearly 85% of California residents will be under stay-at-home orders Sunday, lasting through at least Christmas, because of a spike in COVID-19 cases, according to NPR.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the order Thursday, saying it would go into effect if the available intensive care unit beds in the region dropped below 15%. It forces all bars, wineries, barbershops, and hair salons to close their doors for three weeks.

“We are at a tipping point in our fight against the virus, and we need to take decisive action now to prevent California’s hospital system from being overwhelmed in the coming weeks,” Gov. Newsom said, per NPR. “We can flatten the curve as we’ve done before and reduce stress on our healthcare system.”

Regional restrictions include the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Diego, Imperial, Inyo, Mono, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura, reports CBS Los Angeles.  

The California Department of Public Health on Friday announced the regional ICU capacity in Southern California had dropped to 13.1%. 

“Staying home for three weeks is a sacrifice, but if every Californian did that for a month, we could stop this disease in its tracks,” California’s acting public health officer Dr. Erica Pan said, per NPR. “This public health order strikes the balance between saving lives, providing essential services that we all rely on and still allowing Californians to participate in lower-risk outdoor activities that are crucial for our physical and mental health.”

Newsom’s order allows schools that have waivers to remain open, along with critical infrastructure. Retail stores, meanwhile, will only be able to operate at 20% capacity and restaurants can offer only delivery service or takeout orders. 

The state is also restricting non-essential travel in the region. The order also bans gatherings of people outside of their immediate households, with some exceptions allowed. Further, travelers coming in from out of state must complete an online form. 

The report added that Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is urging law enforcement officers to enforce the state order, with violators to face misdemeanor penalties. 

Meanwhile, the San Joaquin Valley region could also fall under Newsom’s orders if ICU capability also continues to drop there, The Sacramento Bee reported Saturday. 

That could add the counties of Calaveras, Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, San Benito, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tulare, and Tuolumne to the order. 

The Bee also reported that the ICU capacity may change as hospitals are able to increase available beds through measures such as launching field hospitals.