California Governor Gavin Newsom said he’s considering imposing some form of curfew to help slow the spread of Covid-19 after a surge in infections forced the state to tighten social-distancing restrictions in 40 of 58 counties.
“We’re considering the notion of a curfew,” Newsom told reporters in a Covid-19 briefing on Monday. “We are assessing that.” He added that he will examine studies from France, Germany and Saudi Arabia on the efficacy of curfews before making a decision.
California is tapping the “emergency brakes” under its COvid-19 protocols after seeing a doubling of new cases in the past 10 days, Newsom said. In just the past week, the number of counties in the highest tier for infection rates, purple, jumped to 41 from 13. That includes most all of Southern California and coastal areas, encompassing 94 percent of the state’s population. San Francisco County is among 11 counties in the second tier, red, while just six counties are in the bottom two tiers, orange and yellow, down from 23 a week ago.
Purple-tier restrictions require most indoor businesses deemed non-essential to shut down. Some businesses, such as indoor gyms and movie theaters, remain closed in the red tier, while others can operate with modifications, such as restaurants being prohibited from offering indoor dining.
With Covid-19 cases surging across the US as next week’s Thanksgiving holiday nears, several states have imposed new or tightened restrictions on indoor gatherings, including Washington and Michigan on Sunday and New Jersey on Monday. Newsom stopped short of a mandate but advised Californians not to have indoor gatherings with other households. The state’s previous guidance recommended not having gatherings with more than two other households and taking such precautions as wearing masks and keeping windows and doors open.
Newsom, who has urged Californians for months to avoid gathering with people outside their households, acknowledged on Friday that he violated his own guidance by attending a friend’s birthday party at a Napa County restaurant on November 6. “I want to apologize to you,” he said on Monday. “I need to preach and practice.”
Newsom’s administration on Friday issued a travel advisory, asking residents to avoid non-essential travel outside the state and urging visitors to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival in California. Unlike New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, he stopped short of ordering a mandatory quarantine.
California has had 1.03 million Covid-19 infections reported, including 9,890 new cases on Sunday. The virus has been blamed for more than 18,000 deaths in the state. Sunday’s total of nearly 10,000 new cases compared with about 7,200 a week earlier. The 14-day moving average is more than 7,000, up from about 4,000 a month ago.
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