Governor Newsom Issues Stay-At-Home Mandate


Branden Leong, Staff Writer

Previously, 9 million California residents have been living under quarantine orders to prevent the spread of COVID-19. California Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Thursday, Mar. 19, that all Californians must stay at home except for absolutely necessary reasons. Nearly 40 million Californians will be staying inside their homes for the next month.

Governor Newsom declared the mandate just after Los Angeles County officials issued similar instructions. Bay Area officials released similar orders even earlier in the week, instructing residents to stay at home unless absolutely necessary. These quarantine orders have been the strictest measures in the U.S. so far.

Because of the exponentially rising number of infection cases in California, Governor Newsom aims to “flatten the curve,” according to CBS News. There are now at least 836 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in California, compared to 157 cases just last week. California reports 17 deaths due to the pandemic. Governor Newsom is concerned about the increasing number of cases, as the hospitals may overflow with the ill.

“This is a moment we need to make tough decisions,” Newsom told the people of California, according to Buzzfeed News. “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 Los Angeles order will last until Apr. 19, a month after its introduction. All businesses must halt all operations, excluding civil and public services and other essential services. Residents may only leave their houses for essential activities, which includes “to pick up food, go to the doctor, or take a walk in the neighborhood,” according to Buzzfeed News. The mandate is effective midnight, Mar. 19, but businesses will get an extra day to prepare for closure.

“We’ve already radically changed how we live in Los Angeles,” announced Mayor Eric Garcetti during a news conference, according to Business Insider. “We’re about to enter a new way of living here in Los Angeles, for a period.”

There are a few exceptions to the quarantine policy, regarding public safety and health care operations, daycares, laundromats, grocery and hardware stores, and takeout and delivery restaurants. These operations must still maintain a six-foot distance between their employees and customers.

Violations of the quarantine policy are punishable as a misdemeanor.

“This is not shelter in place like a school shooting; this is stay at home because you’re safer at home,” Garcetti explained, according to Buzzfeed News. “This is not a request. This is an order.”

Gov. Newsom’s order still allows restaurants to continue serving takeout and delivery, just not dine-in customers. Californian residents can still spend time outdoors walking or playing, but must stay at least six feet away from others.


Photo courtesy of POLITICO.COM