Media Moves

California on lockdown

March 20, 2020

Posted by Irina Slav

California Governor Gavin Newsom has ordered a statewide lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Weizhen Tan and Riya Bhattacharjee reported the news for CNBC:

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday issued a statewide order for all residents to ‘stay at home’ amid a coronavirus outbreak.

“We need to bend the curve in the state of California,” Newsom said, as he announced a statewide order for Californians to stay home.

“There’s a social contract here, people I think recognize the need to do more … They will begin to adjust and adapt as they have been quite significantly. We will have social pressure and that will encourage people to do the right thing,” he said, in addressing how this order will be enforced.

Newsom added: “Home isolation is not my preferred choice … but it is a necessary one …This is not a permanent state, this is a moment in time.”

The stay home order is in place till further notice.

All dine-in restaurants, bars and clubs, gyms and fitness studios will be closed, according to the order. Public events and gatherings are also not allowed. Essential services will stay open, however, such as pharmacies, grocery stores, takeout and delivery restaurants, and banks.

Newsom said he made the decision “based upon some new information” and projections that came in from Johns Hopkins University.

Newsweek’s Matt Keeley wrote:

All non-essential businesses will also close; grocery stores, pharmacies and banks, among others, will stay open. Some restaurants will also stay open, however, they will be delivery or take-out only. Before Newsom’s order, a number of counties—including Los Angeles County—issued similar directives.

Newsom also said that the National Guard would help with the distribution of food, acting in a “purely humanitarian” manner. California will also partner with the social media platform NextDoor so citizens can check in with neighbors during the lockdown.

“This is a moment we need to make tough decisions,” Newsom said. “We need to recognize reality.”

The order comes into effect Thursday, until further notice. Violations of the order are punishable as a misdemeanor. The maximum punishment would be a fine of $1,000 or no more than six months in prison, but Newsom says he does not plan to have police enforce the order.

Newsom’s move, designed to save lives and prevent a surge of patients from overwhelming the hospital system, will accelerate America’s slide into recession by crushing the economy in its most populous state. If California were a sovereign state, it would be the world’s fifth-largest economy behind Germany and ahead of India. California’s economy is 50 percent larger than Italy’s, so far the biggest economy to employ total lockdown as a strategy to contain the spread of coronavirus.

Politico’s Jeremy B. White quoted Newsom as saying:

“There’s a social contract here,” Newsom said. “People, I think, recognize the need to do more and meet his moment.”

Newsom said the order has to remain in effect indefinitely. He has repeatedly said the next eight weeks are crucial to bend the curve and stop the rapid contagion. He also said, however, that he does not expect the order to last “many, many months.”

Despite strong guidance to stay home — and enforceable orders in nearly two dozen counties — a small number of people in California are still playing basketball, hanging out together on beaches and congregating in parks.

“We will have social pressure that will encourage people to do the right thing. Just a nod, look, saying, ‘Hey, maybe you should reconsider just being out there on the beach, being 22 strong at a park,'” he said.

Days after he instructed the California National Guard to go on alert, Newsom said Thursday he would deploy about 500 guard personnel to help with humanitarian work and food distribution.

In recent days, Newsom, mayors and health officials across the state have clamped down on social gatherings as reported coronavirus cases and deaths have steadily increased. Shortly before Newsom spoke, Los Angeles joined the entire San Francisco Bay Area and major metropolitan areas like Sacramento — the seat of California’s government and Newsom’s current home — in confining residents to their homes for all but essential tasks.

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