Tens of millions of people in Southern California, the San Joaquin Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area will find themselves under new stay-at-home orders this week in an effort to slow the spread of Covid-19 and prevent hospitals from being overrun.
Roughly 33 million of California’s 39 million residents, about 85% of the nation’s most populous state, will be under the orders beginning Sunday evening.
Some 27 million people in the Southern California and San Joaquin Valley regions will be affected after both regions triggered a mandate issued by Gov. Gavin Newsom last week requiring new restrictions if a region’s hospital intensive care unit capacity drops below 15%.
Almost 6 million will be under the orders after six Bay Area governments decided not to wait for ICU capacity to fall below that threshold.
As of Sunday, ICU capacity in Southern California, the state’s most populous region, had fallen to 10.3%, according to the state’s Covid-19 website. In the San Joaquin Valley region, encompassing much of central California, that metric dipped to 6.6%.
The state reported more than 30,000 new cases on Sunday, a record high for California.
The orders take effect Sunday at 11:59 p.m. PT and require the closure of businesses like bars, hair salons, museums, movie theaters and indoor recreational facilities. Retail businesses are allowed to stay open at 20% capacity, while restaurants are limited to takeout and delivery service. Travel is prohibited except for essential activities.
Schools that are already open for in-person learning may remain open along with critical infrastructure businesses.
The order will remain in effect for at least three weeks and will be lifted only when a region’s projected ICU capacity meets or exceeds 15%.
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