Traffic in downtown Los Angeles, on Thursday. The governor told the state’s residents to remain at home beginning on Friday. Etienne Laurent/EPA, via Shutterstock
California’s governor orders residents to “stay at home.”
America’s most populous state is ordering its residents to stay at home.
Gov. Gavin Newsom of California on Thursday ordered Californians — all 40 million of them — to stay at home as much as possible in the coming weeks as the state confronts the escalating coronavirus outbreak. The order represents the most drastic measure any governor has taken to control the virus, and a decision that Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York, which has far more cases than in California, has resisted taking. Mr. Newsom made the announcement from the state’s emergency operations center in Sacramento, normally a place where emergency workers coordinate responses to wildfires and earthquake, and spoke in stark terms of the risk the virus poses to the population.
Citing a model that state planners have been using, suggesting that 56 percent of Californians, or more than 25 million people, could be infected over eight weeks, Mr. Newsom said, “I think it’s time I tell you what I tell my family.”
“This is not a permanent state, this is a moment in time,” he said. “We will look back at these decisions as pivotal.”
Earlier in the week several counties in the Bay Area, plus Sacramento, issued orders that residents essentially shelter in place, although there are several exceptions — which also apply to the state order — such as going to buy groceries or picking up prescriptions.
The governor’s order came as cases in the United States surged past 10,000 on Thursday, prompting sweeping action from several other state leaders who had previously been reluctant to order imposing changes to daily life.
In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott declared a public health disaster for the first time since 1901 and issued an executive order stopping dine-in service at restaurants and bars. The order also called for closing schools, and a ban on gatherings of more than 10 people statewide.
Florida’s southernmost county, which includes the Keys, ordered on Thursday all of its hotels to close. The move, at the height of the state's tourist season, is expected to deal a severe blow to the local economy.