Gov. Newsom announces new lockdown order, slices California into regions

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a new, regional stay-at-home order Thursday as an “emergency brake” to curb the supposedly rampant spread of COVID-19 in California.

The state is being broken into five regions: Northern California, Greater Sacramento, Bay Area, San Joaquin Valley and Southern California.

When the region’s ICU hospital capacity falls below 15% capacity, the new stay-at-home order is triggered for a period of at least three weeks.

No regions are immediately affected, but current projections show all regions except the Bay Area meeting that dire threshold in the next few days. The Bay Area is currently projected to drop below 15% ICU capacity later this month.

When the stay-at-home order is triggered, bars, wineries, nail salons, hair salons and barbershops, and other personal care services will need to close. Private gatherings of any size will be prohibited.

Schools that have received a waiver to reopen can stay open, as can all “critical infrastructure.”

Restaurants can stay open for takeout and delivery, but they have to shut down both indoor and outdoor dining.

All retail stores are allowed to stay open at 20% capacity, unlike the last stay-at-home order in March. Newsom acknowledged the first stay-at-home order at the beginning of the pandemic unfairly advantaged some big box retailers, which were allowed to stay open. In this round of restrictions, Newsom said the state would be doing more to support small businesses.

Additionally, all non-essential travel is “temporarily restricted statewide,” regardless of what zone you live in. Hotels and motels are now restricted to only guests traveling for an “essential” reason.

“This is the most challenging moment since the beginning of this pandemic,” said the governor. “If there was ever any time to put aside your doubt, to put aside your skepticism, to put aside your cynicism to put aside your ideology, to put aside any consideration except this: Lives are in the balance. Lives will be lost unless we do more than we’ve ever done.”

COVID regions California

Here’s how the state is broken down into five regions:

  • Northern California: Del Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Shasta, Siskiyou, Tehama, Trinity
  • Bay Area: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma
  • Greater Sacramento: Alpine, Amador, Butte, Colusa, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Sierra, Sutter, Yolo, Yuba
  • San Joaquin Valley: Calaveras, Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, San Benito, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tulare, Tuolumne
  • Southern California: Imperial, Inyo, Los Angeles, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura

When it comes to enforcement, the state is largely leaving it to the local level. However, Newsom said there would be consequences for any uncooperative counties.

“If you’re unwilling to adopt the protocols to support the mitigation and the reduction of the spread of this disease, we’re happy to redirect those dollars to counties that feel differently,” the governor said.

The state’s biggest area of concern has been a rise in hospitalizations, particularly in ICU beds. California has broken its record for most hospitalizations five times in five days. As of Thursday, 8,831 people are hospitalized with the virus. The number of patients in the state’s intensive care units also reached a new record Thursday: 2,066 people.