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Nearly all of California’s 40 million residents were placed on an overnight curfew Thursday as the state tries to fend off an alarming surge in COVID-19 cases.
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the “limited stay-at-home order,” which bans non-essential outings between 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. starting Saturday, and lasting until at least Dec. 21.
“The virus is spreading at a pace we haven’t seen since the start of this pandemic and the next several days and weeks will be critical to stop the surge. We are sounding the alarm,” Newsom said in a statement.
“It is crucial that we act to decrease transmission and slow hospitalizations before the death count surges.”
The order affects 41 of the Golden State’s 58 counties, which have the most significant spikes in COVID-19 cases. Those cover 94 percent of the nearly 40 million residents.
Under the curfew, restaurants will still be allowed to offer takeout and people will still be able to perform essential activities like getting medical care, picking up prescriptions or groceries and walking dogs, officials said.
It comes just days after the state imposed restrictions limiting business operations in those same 41 counties, which are in the most severe “purple” tier under California’s color-coded system for re-opening the economy.
The move also follows Newsom being blasted for flouting his own coronavirus safety protocols during a party at a posh Napa Valley restaurant, where photos showed neither he nor the other 12 people in attendance wore face masks.
Newsom apologized saying he “should have modeled better behavior.”