Entire State Of California Ordered To Stay Home To Stop Spread Of Coronavirus

by Cassandra Stone
California Gov. Gavin Newsom
Justin Sullivan/Getty

Nearly 40 million people in the state of California are now on a governor-ordered lockdown

Governor Gavin Newsom announced an order for Californians to stay home on Thursday night, stating that all 40 million people need to remain in their homes unless it’s absolutely necessary to leave “until further notice.”

Gov. Newsom hopes to slow the spread of the coronavirus, which is why he’s leading the country in issuing the strictest “shelter-in-place” order thus far amid the pandemic.

“This is a moment we need to make tough decisions,” Newsom says. “This is a moment where we need some straight talk and we need to tell people the truth: We need to bend the curve in the state of California.”

So far in the state of California, there have been 675 confirmed cases of COVID-19, resulting in 16 deaths as of mid-week. Only Washington state and New York have more confirmed cases of the disease, totaling more than 5,000 between the two.

Newsom says that the order will take effect immediately, and could not confirm a date when it would be lifted. Los Angeles currently has an order in place that is to remain in effect until at least April 19, which requires all businesses (including museums, malls, retail stores, and workplaces) to stop operations, with the exception of life-sustaining businesses where people can pick up food, prescriptions, or go to the doctor.

“We’ve already radically changed how we live in Los Angeles,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said. “We need to be painfully honest tonight that we’re about to enter into a new way of living here.”

The statewide order in California echoes that of L.A. There are exemptions for public safety and healthcare operations, as well as laundromats, grocery stores, and restaurants offering takeout and delivery only. Regardless, all businesses that will remain open must follow social distancing practices — workers and patrons must keep six feet of space between one another.

For people living in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara, disobeying the stay at home order will be treated as a misdemeanor. “This is not shelter in place like a school shooting, this is staying at home because you’re safer at home,” Garcetti said. “This is not a request. This is an order.”

Currently, under state law, people who violate the governor’s order will be punished with a fine of up to $1,000 or even by imprisonment for up to six months. Newsom and local officials have stated, however, they do not plan to have police handling enforcement.

“There a social contract here people I think recognize the need to do more,” Newsom said, stressing that he hopes the social pressure and seriousness of the order will convince people to stay home. “Of course we have the capacity to move beyond that.”