California Gov. Gavin Newsom introduced a new regional stay-at-home order on Thursday, days after he said that most of the state’s intensive care beds could be over capacity within weeks amid a surge in coronavirus cases.
The order, which will be applied by region, will require bars, wineries, hair salons and other nonessential businesses across five areas to close for three weeks once the region’s intensive care capacity falls below 15 percent, he said.
Statewide travel will also be temporarily halted, Newsom said, but schools will remain open and he encouraged people to visit parks and exercise. Restaurants can continue to serve takeout and delivery, he said.
Four of the five regions are expected to fall below the 15 percent threshold within days, he said. Only one — the San Francisco Bay area — will likely come later.
In a stark message, Newsom said the effects of Thanksgiving travel and celebrations still haven’t been felt, and that residents should expect a “surge on top of a surge” in cases within weeks.
Video: California governor warns stay-at-home order for most of state could be imminent (NBC News)
“We really need to step up,” he said. “We need to do everything we can to stem the tide.”
The new protocols are more targeted than a previous statewide order that he imposed in March, which shuttered non-essential businesses for unspecified period of time and required people across the state’s 58 counties to only leave their homes when necessary.
Over the last two weeks, California has seen one of the most significant surges in new cases in the country, according to an NBC News analysis. The data show that the percentage of new cases has grown by 84 percent.
State data show that on Dec. 1, more than 20,000 new cases were recorded in California, a figure nearly twice the summertime peak of roughly 12,000.
Nearly 10,000 people are hospitalized, with more than 2,100 of them in intensive care beds, according to the data.
Over the last 48 hours, Newsom said, more than 220 people died from coronavirus. One month ago, he said, the number of people to die in a 24 hour period was 14.