How does California’s stay-at-home Covid order work?

Restrictions linked to how many intensive care beds are free in state’s five regions

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Wednesday 16 December 2020 17:28
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California’s governor Gavin Newsom has introduced the latest stay-at-home order that most of the state is currently under to combat surging Covid cases.

Officials divided the state, which has a population of 39.8 million people, into five different regions: Northern California, Greater Sacramento, Bay Area, San Joaquin Valley and Southern California.

When a region’s hospital intensive care capacity falls below 15 per cent it must abide by the stay-at-home order, which means residents are required to stay home except for essential tasks and outdoor exercise.

And once a region has the order triggered and designated “blue” the state will not lift it for three weeks.

California has seen more than 1.62 million Covid cases and 21,200 people have died during the pandemic.

Under the stay-at-home order, indoor retail and shopping malls are capped at 20 per cent of indoor capacity.

Hair salons, nail salons, personal care services such as hair waxing, tattoo parlours, museums, aquariums, zoos, theme parks and movie theatres are all closed.

Places of worship and gyms are only allowed to open for outdoor use.

Restaurants are open for takeout and delivery only, while wineries, bars, breweries, card rooms and family entertainment centres are all closed.

Hotels are only open for essential travellers, non-essential offices are remote work only and professional sport can have no live audiences.

Schools may stay open if they received a waiver for in-person instruction before the stay-at-home order.

If any of the state’s 58 counties is not impacted by the stay-at-home order then it falls under a four-tier colour-coded re-opening plan: yellow, orange, red and purple.

Yellow, the bottom level, means there is normal Covid spread and allows businesses to re-open indoor operations with physical distancing and face masks.

Purple, the top level, means there is widespread Covid spread and nearly all business have to close or severely limit indoor operations.

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