Gov. Gavin Newsom has ordered a curfew for all California counties in the purple tier amid climbing coronavirus cases. The curfew will affect 41 of the state's 58 counties -- and more than 94 percent of the state's population.
The curfew, which the state is calling a "limited Stay at Home Order," stops short of a full lockdown. It will be in effect from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. starting Saturday. The restrictions between those hours will be similar to the stay-at-home order that was in effect in March. That means all non-essential work, movement and gatherings will have to stop in all purple tier counties.
The curfew is set to remain in effect until Dec. 21 at 5 a.m.
"We're asking that as part of this targeted limited stay at home order that people are home by 10 and stay home until 5 a.m.," said California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly in a briefing Thursday afternoon.
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Ghaly went on to list several activities that are allowed during that overnight timeframe. He said, for example, if you needed to make a late-night grocery run or pick up takeout from a restaurant after 10 p.m., those activities were still allowed as those businesses are deemed essential. (Sit-down dining is not essential, however, and is affected by the new restrictions.) People also won't be kept from physical activities like walking their dogs, either.
However, on socializing, Ghaly was clear: "Gathering shouldn't occur between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
"We know that's hard to imagine how to enforce. Some of you may say, 'Well, how am I ever going to be known if I'm doing that at home?' We've depended on a partnership with all of you and this is about coming together."
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It seems the state may need to rely on people to self-police when it comes to the new restrictions. Several law enforcement agencies released statements Thursday with tepid support for the curfew.
The City of Fresno said it was asking residents to voluntarily comply with the State's limited stay-at-home directive, but added that Fresno Police would, "concentrate on their regular responsibilities to serve and protect the people of Fresno." County Sheriff Margaret Mims also said her office will not be enforcing the order. "We are not going to make criminals out of normally law-abiding citizens," she said.
The Sacramento Sheriff said the department, "will not be determining -- including entering any home or business -- compliance with, or enforcing compliance of, any health or emergency orders related to curfews, staying at home, Thanksgiving or other social gatherings."
On Monday, 40 counties were moved into more restrictive tiers as coronavirus cases continue to climb around the state.
Since we last heard from Newsom and Ghaly Monday, COVID-19 cases have continued a steep climb in the state. More than 11,000 new cases were reported in California over the past 24 hours -- the highest number we've seen since the start of the fall surge. Another 106 people have died as a result of the virus, bringing the state's death toll to 18,466.
WATCH: Dr. Ghaly provides details rules for the 'limited Stay at Home Order'
The state's testing positivity rate, which is the percentage of people who get a COVID-19 test and turn back a positive result, has gone from 3.3% just a few weeks ago to 5% this week.
"It feels like that's just a small difference between 3.3% to 5%, but it's a very significant difference," said Ghaly, pointing out that jump represents a 52% increase in positivity.
Hospitalizations have climbed even more -- 64% over the past two weeks.
"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," said Gov. Newsom in a press 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."
Ghaly pointed to Los Angeles County as an area of particular concern, where the number of new cases was around 1,500 a day on Nov. 1. That number was 3,742 Wednesday -- a 147% increase. Madera County, north of Fresno, has seen a 460% increase in new cases (from six on Nov. 1 to 34 Wednesday).
One Southern California resident pushed back against the curfew.
"The fact that I don't get an option is what bothers me. If I want to be out -- if it's a friend's birthday -- and I want to be out past 10, I want to have the opportunity to do so, " said Kristen Jaureguy.
This is a developing story and will be updated as we learn more.