SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Governor Gavin Newsom announced a sweeping new coronavirus order Thursday that would trigger business shutdowns and limits on people’s movement based on hospital intensive care unit capacity in their regions.
“The bottom line is, if we don’t act now, our hospital system will be overwhelmed,” Newsom said.
Governor Newsom made that plea as the state is now averaging nearly 15,000 newly-reported coronavirus cases daily.
“If we do not act now, we will continue to see a death rate climb, more lives lost,” Newsom said.
Here’s a look at what the order entails:
A REGIONAL APPROACH
Newsom’s order divides the state into five regions: Northern California, the San Francisco Bay Area, Greater Sacramento, the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California.
If restrictions are triggered, every county in a region will have to abide by the same rules.
“We are using a regional approach, in part because that is how hospitals and health care delivery systems,” said Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of California Health and Human Services. “When capacity can’t be met in a specific county, we lean on neighboring counties and their hospital delivery systems.”
The new order will be triggered if a region’s intensive care unit bed capacity drops below 15%.
No regions currently meet that percentage but all except the Bay Area could be there within a day or two, Newsom said.
Businesses will have 48 hours to comply once a region meets the threshold.
In regions where the order is triggered, the following businesses must close: restaurants for all on-site dining, wineries and breweries, playgrounds, indoor recreational facilities, hair salons, personal car services, museums, movie theaters, cardrooms and casinos, and family entertainment centers.
Retail stores and shopping centers can stay open indoors at 20% capacity. Hotels may remain open for critical infrastructure support, as can offices.
Churches and places of worship can hold outdoor services.
Professional sports can continue without live audiences, as can production of films and other entertainment.
Schools with K-12 students will not be affected by the order. Those open for classroom instruction now can remain so.
If the order is triggered in a region, people will be ordered to limit travel and mixing with people outside their household as much as possible. The order says members of the same household will still be allowed to go outside for physical activity.
HOW LONG DOES IT LAST?
Once the order takes effect in a region, it will last for at least three weeks.