In a swift move to curb the spread of COVID-19’s recent surge in California, state officials will be announcing a mandatory 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew in counties placed in the state’s most restricted purple tier, which includes Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ventura Counties — all areas within the general LA metropolitan area. The curfew will go into effect on November 21 at 10 p.m., according to KRON and other Northern California news outlets. Reporter Ashley Zavala reports that the curfew will last at least one month, which will spill into the Christmas holiday season. The curfew will not apply to essential workers, such as healthcare employees and those working in supply chains going to and from work. The news will be announced at a 3 p.m. conference by state health and human services secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly.
The move comes after this week’s statements from Los Angeles County officials, who said restaurants must reduce outdoor dining capacity to 50 percent beginning November 20; that mandate also stated diners would have to vacate restaurant premises by 10 p.m. LA County officials initially stated the reduced capacity and 10 p.m. mandatory closure time only applied to outdoor dining, with an allowance for delivery and takeout to continue until later hours. The state’s new purple-tier curfew would still allow for limited capacity outdoor dining within LA County.
However, on November 18, officials gave thresholds for when the county would go to stricter policies, including the temporary cessation of outdoor dining if cases averaged 4,000 over a five-day period, or if total hospitalizations reached 1,750. Officials also stated that a full stay-at-home order would go into effect in LA County if average cases (over a five-day period) reached 4,500, or if total hospitalizations went over 2,000.
Today, the Los Angeles Times reported that COVID-19 cases hit a milestone of over 5,000 in LA County alone, which surpasses the highest levels in the county from mid-July. The recent data signals a rapid surge of cases, potentially stemming from large private gatherings and public celebrations due to two sports championship wins and the results of the presidential election in recent weeks.
Newsom’s statewide curfew for counties within the purple tier comes just a few days before the Thanksgiving holiday and weeks before often busy December holidays. LA County officials restricted public gatherings to 15 people, with no more than three households, and limited indoor capacity at non-essential retail stores to 25 percent.