California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a statewide “Shelter-in-Place” order, effective immediately.
The order commands all California residents to stay in their homes and to leave only for essential trips like the grocery store or pharmacy. The unprecedented state-wide mandate is intended to lower the number of COVID-19 cases that are spiking in number across the state and globe daily.
The coronavirus is changing life on the ground so quickly that the order came barely an hour after Santa Barbara County Public Health announced on a teleconference town-hall meeting that only those who are 70 and above with underlying conditions and those 75 and above would be under the order. Newsom’s pronouncement applies to everyone in the state, regardless of age.
The only businesses and services open to the public under the governor’s order are gas stations, pharmacies, grocery stores or food services that provide pickup and delivery, banks, laundromats, and, of course, hospitals and doctors’ offices. Essential state and local government functions will also remain open, including law enforcement and offices that provide government programs and services. Members of the public who work in these fields are permitted to leave the house for work; all others must stay home unless they are utilizing the essential services. The full list of critical infrastructure can be found here.
Other parts of California, such as the Bay Area, have had shelter-in-place orders for nearly a week. That order put strict limitations on gatherings of people, mandated social distancing, and prohibited nonessential traveling. Public health authorities encourage people to stay at least six feet away from other people, wash hands regularly, and withhold from handshaking.