SACRAMENTO — California is imposing an overnight curfew on most residents as the most populous state tries to head off a surge in coronavirus cases it fears could tax the state’s health care system, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Thursday.
What officials are calling a limited stay-at-home order requires nonessential residents to stay home from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. starting Saturday.
It affects counties with the most severe restrictions, 41 of the state’s 58 counties that are in the “purple” tier under California’s color-coded system for reopening the economy. That covers 94% of the state’s nearly 40 million residents.
The move comes only days after the state imposed restrictions limiting business operations in those 41 counties, which have the most significant increases in virus cases.
“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.
The order will last one month, until Dec. 21, but could be extended if infection rates and disease trends don’t improve.
Congressman Doug LaMalfa, who represents much of California's North State, lambasted the curfew measures, referencing Governor Newsom's controversial attendance at a birthday party in Napa Valley earlier this month.
“Most of my constituents don’t buy $400 meals at swanky Napa restaurants as the Governor does, but it’s not his or the government’s business when and where we eat anyway," Rep. LaMalfa said. "This curfew is essentially saying you can stay out late and have seafood in San Francisco, but not enjoy a late ribeye in Red Bluff . . . The absurdity is that it’s a nighttime curfew. This virus doesn’t somehow turn up its wattage at 10 PM."