LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Gov. Gavin Newsom has issued a statewide “stay-at-home” order that will go into effect tonight in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. He said the order is in line with similar orders issued around the state, including the one issued moments before in L.A. County.
Both orders go into effect Thursday night.
“This is a moment where we need to make tough decisions,” Newsom said in a press conference.
The orders ban all gatherings outside of a single home and will require non-essential businesses that require employees to report for work to shut down.
The L.A. County health order will stay in effect until April 19, with the possibility of extension.
L.A. County Public Health Officer Barbara Ferrer said in a press conference that the L.A. County health order builds upon the previous orders of closure issued in the county, and the goal is to keep the number of COVID-19 cases down so that not to overwhelm the county’s healthcare system.
“The best way to keep [the healthcare system] highly functional is to make sure we don’t see that peak of tens of thousands of people who all need care at the same time,” she said.
The health orders come the same day that L.A. County announced its second coronavirus-related death. Ferrer reminded residents that young people are just as at-risk for infection as the elderly.
“Our second death was a relatively young person,” Ferrer said. “This is a disease that can strike almost everybody who lives here in L.A. County…We must think about the fact that each one of us on any given day can be carrying this infection.”
All public and private gatherings of 10 or more people will continue to be prohibited. Gatherings with two to nine people must guarantee social distancing of at least six feet apart and must enforce access to hand washing.
The order also requires the closure of indoor malls and indoor shopping centers, as well as any non-essential retail businesses.
Outdoor malls can remain open for essential businesses if they enforce social distancing. Indoor and outdoor playgrounds are to close. Bars, gyms, entertainment centers are to remain closed. Food establishments can still be open for delivery or pick-up.
Essential businesses that are not ordered to close include grocery stores, supermarkets, food banks, outdoor farmer markets, schools/childcare centers, gas stations, banks, and hardware stores.
City officials said there are no plans to halt public transportation at this time.
L.A. County officials were joined by several city officials, including L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek, and Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia. Each assured that this order is not a “lock down,” but rather another attempt to increase social distancing measures and “flatten the curve.”
Residents are still encouraged to go for walks and leave their homes when they need essential items, such as groceries and prescriptions.
“The only time you should leave your home is for essential needs,” Garcetti said, adding that the order will not be enforced minutely by law enforcement. “This is on 10 million people to self enforce and for us to look for those holes.”
Keep up with coronavirus news across Southern California here.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.