California Residents Mandated to Stay at Home in New Statewide Order Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

All dine-in restaurants, bars, nightclubs, gyms and convention centers in California have been ordered to close until further notice

Residents of California have been ordered to “stay at home” to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) under a new statewide accordance issued by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday evening.

Effective Thursday evening, all Californians — almost 40 million people in total — are to remain inside their residences under the new directive and will only be allowed out to pick up food and other essential items. The order is in place until further notice.

Per the executive order, all dine-in restaurants, bars and nightclubs, entertainment venues, gyms and fitness studios and convention centers will stop operation.

Essential services such as pharmacies, gas stations, banks, laundromats and places offering food — such as grocery stores, food banks, farmers markets, convenience stores and eateries with takeout or delivery — are allowed to remain open.

“CA is issuing a statewide, mandatory STAY AT HOME order. Those that work in critical sectors should go to work,” Newsom tweeted. “We need to meet this moment and flatten the curve together.”

As of Thursday, there have been 933 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 69 deaths in California, according to a New York Times database.

“This is a moment we need to make tough decisions,” Newsom said in a press conference on Thursday. “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.”

The executive order comes just half an hour after Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that the city’s residents are to remain inside their residences under a new “Safer at Home” emergency order effective starting midnight.

“Los Angeles, this is our moment to lead with love and protect those lives that mean everything to us,” he said during a press briefing on Thursday. “This is not a request. This is an order.”

According to guidelines on the city’s website, L.A. residents can leave their homes to get food and other essentials, attend medical and veterinary appointments, or help someone else gather necessary supplies. The guidelines state people can also leave their homes for exercise and air, though they are recommended to stay six feet apart from other residents as a precaution.

The website notes the order is “legally enforceable” and those who violate it “may be punished by a fine or imprisonment for doing so.”

“The virus spreads easily, and this Order is intended to prevent the spread of this disease from overwhelming our healthcare system,” it read. “The goal here is to ‘flatten the curve’ to slow down the spread of the virus and ensure we have adequate health care resources for those who get sick with COVID-19 and those who need emergency medical care for accidents, heart attacks, strokes, and other routine medical conditions.”

The Los Angeles order is set to expire on March 31, though its duration can be either shortened or extended by the mayor, according to the city’s website.

Previously, the residents of San Francisco and eight other Bay Area counties were placed under orders to “shelter in place” in the hopes of slowing the spread of the coronavirus.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes ,PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.

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