California Gov. Gavin Newsom has ordered residents statewide to stay at home in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The order, which goes into effect on Thursday at midnight and will last “until further notice,” will affect nearly 40 million people.
“This is a moment we need to make tough decisions,” Newsom said at a press conference on Thursday evening. “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.”
Residents will still be allowed to go out for essential activities, which include going to grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, banks, and laundromats. Dine-in restaurants (aside from delivery and takeout), bars, gyms, and all other non-essential public events and services will be closed.
Newsom’s announcement comes moments after Los Angeles County officials announced a “safer at home” emergency order on Thursday evening that will require all residents — beginning at midnight — to stay at home and limit movement outside unless it is absolutely essential.
The order also closes all non-essential retail businesses and prohibits all public or private gatherings of 10 people or more that occur outside of a single-family home. It will remain in effect until April 19, with the possibility of an extension.
“The only time you should leave your home should be for essential activities,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said.
Officials said that businesses that provide food, shelter, social services and health care will remain open. But shopping malls, playgrounds, and all other non-essential retail businesses will be ordered to close. Deliveries and public transportation will still be allowed to continue.
The mayors of Long Beach and Pasadena also announced that they would be implementing a similar order in their respective cities.
Garcetti’s address took on a somber tone, likening the ongoing coronavirus pandemic as equivalent to a 9/11 “moment” for the current generation of Angelenos and Americans — one he named “Generation C.”
“I don’t want to sugar coat it,” Garcetti said. “This will be a day that stretches and tests the soul of the city.”
The mayor also addressed the “young and healthy” to warn them that they are not “exempt” from the possibility of getting ill from the virus.
“We cannot wait, and we must act now,” he said. “If we can slow the spread, we can buy days.”