Californians will face strict limits on in-person gatherings and shopping under new rules announced Thursday by Gov. Gavin Newsom
The rules will temporarily close indoor dining, bars, playgrounds, wineries, live sports with crowds, nail and hair salons and other personal services, for a three-week period.
Schools already open will remain open, as will retail stores and malls, with a 20 percent capacity and metering restrictions. Religious institutions would be limited to outdoor services.
Newsom is dividing the state into five regions, and the restrictions will be triggered when ICU capacity falls below 15 percent in any given area.
Residents are urged to stay at home except for essential activities and outdoor recreational activities, but it is not a mandatory stay-at-home order.
Newsom said the order is “fundamentally predicated on the need to stop gathering with people outside your household.”
“We’re encouraging people, we’re really imploring people not to have those gatherings,” Newsom said during a press conference Thursday.
Currently no areas meet the threshold yet, but Newsom said it is only a matter of time, and most regions could hit the threshold and come under the new restrictions as soon as this week.
The Bay Area will likely reach that point later than the rest of the state, Newsom said. The governor predicted the area would likely reach the threshold by mid- or late-December.
“If we don’t act now, our hospital system will be overwhelmed,” Newsom said.
Once a region hits the 15 percent threshold, any reopening of closed services and activities will be based on four-week projections of a region’s ICU capacity, according to the governor and Health Secretary Mark Ghaly.
While some local law enforcement officials have denounced Newsom’s actions and refused to enforce any restrictions, Newsom said officials are broadly enforcing his prevention policies.
“We’re seeing overwhelming support for enforcement,” Newsom added, though he noted some people don’t believe the pandemic is serious.
“If you’re unwilling to enforce the rules, we’re happy to redirect those dollars to counties that feel differently,” Newsom said.
But similar to other state measures, the new rules allow local leaders to impose their own public health limitations. For example, LA County has already closed all indoor and outdoor dining, and the Bay Area has travel restrictions.