Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday announced a curfew limiting the nighttime movements of more than 90% of Californians.
The order, intended to deal with a worrying surge in coronavirus cases, requires non-essential work, movement and gatherings stop between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
The order goes into effect 10 p.m. Saturday. It applies to counties in the purple tier — or 41 of the state’s 58 counties. That includes all Bay Area counties except San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin.
“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 wrote in a news release. “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.”
Coronavirus cases are surging in California. The state reported more new infections in the past week than during any other seven-day period, and hospitalizations and deaths are increasing too. On Wednesday, county health departments around California combined to report 11,646 new cases and 107 new deaths, according to data compiled by this news organization — the highest single-day death toll since Oct. 21 and just the third time at least 10,000 cases have been recorded on three consecutive days.
In response, Newsom on Monday threatened to impose a curfew to help keep COVID-19 cases down, but didn’t provide further details at the time. Curfews of varying intensity and other restrictions have been imposed around the country in recent days as virus cases surge nationally. New York last week mandated businesses with liquor licenses close indoor and outdoor dining by 10 p.m., and New York City on Thursday suspended in-person classes for students.
El Paso, Texas imposed even stricter measures, requiring people to remain at home at night unless they’re required to travel for emergencies or essential services. Washington also imposed new restrictions throughout the state this week, including banning indoor social gatherings with people from multiple households unless participants quarantine beforehand. And Los Angeles County officials have threatened to impose a new stay-at-home order and a 10 p.m.-to-6 a.m. curfew.