California’s governor on Thursday imposed a curfew on social gatherings and other non-essential activities in one of the most intrusive of the restrictions being ordered across the country to curb an alarming surge in novel coronavirus infections.
The stay-at-home order will go into effect from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. each day, starting Saturday night and ending on the morning of Dec. 21, covering 41 of California’s 58 counties and the vast majority of its population, Governor Gavin Newsom said.
“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,” Newsom, a Democrat, said in a statement announcing the measure a week before the Thanksgiving holiday.
A similar 10 p.m.-to-5 a.m. curfew order was issued on Thursday in Ohio and will remain in effect for the next 21 days, Governor Mike DeWine, a Republican, announced separately.
As in California, the Ohio curfew would not prohibit grocery stores from remaining open past 10 p.m, or keep restaurants from staying open late for takeout orders. Individuals would likewise be permitted to venture out for food, medical care, or other necessities, as well as to take a jog or walk a dog.
In California, the restriction essentially marks a return to the first-in-the-nation, statewide stay-home order that Newsom imposed in March, except it applies only during the designated curfew hours rather than around the clock.
Signs of a resurgent public health crisis have emerged more starkly across the country, with officials forced to retreat from tentative steps to normalize daily life during what had been a brief lull in the pandemic.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a “strong recommendation” on Thursday that Americans refrain from traveling for the holiday.
Later in the day, President-elect Joe Biden emerged from a teleconference with a bipartisan group of 10 governors saying they had discussed a possible universal face-mask requirement – an idea Biden has strenuously advocated as a “patriotic duty.”
Biden also repeated he had no plans to impose a U.S. economic lockdown.