Authorities in California have lifted stay-at-home orders from the 13 counties of the Greater Sacramento region, effective Jan. 13, following improvements in hospital availability within that area. Under state guidelines, each county in the region will now be under specific restrictions depending on its levels of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) activity. The stay-at-home order remains in place in all the counties that are part of the San Joaquin Valley, Southern California, and Bay Area regions, as part of California's efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The stay-at-home order instructs individuals to stay at home as much as possible except to perform essential tasks, which include purchasing basic goods, attending to a health issue, or performing outdoor recreational activities with members of a person's household. Gatherings with members of other households are banned. Multiple businesses are required to close, including playgrounds, indoor recreational facilities, personal care businesses, museums, zoos, aquariums, movie theaters, bars, family entertainment centers, amusement parks, and live audience sports. Restaurants can only operate for delivery and pickup services, places of worship can only offer outdoor services, and office-based businesses can only open for critical infrastructure sectors when working remote is not possible. Retail stores can open at a 20-percent capacity, and outdoor recreational facilities can open without any food or drink sales. Lodging businesses can only operate to support critical infrastructure.
The order divides the state into five regions:
Northern California (Del Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Shasta, Siskiyou, Tehama, and Trinity counties)
Bay Area (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, and Sonoma counties)
Greater Sacramento (Alpine, Amador, Butte, Colusa, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Sierra, Sutter, Yolo, and Yuba counties)
San Joaquin Valley (Calaveras, Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, San Benito, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tulare, and Tuolumne counties)
Southern California (Imperial, Inyo, Los Angeles, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura counties)
The stay-at-home requirement is enforced per region if capacity in Intensive Care Units (ICU) in the regions' hospitals goes below 15 percent. The region will remain under the stay-at-home order for a minimum of three weeks, at which time the entire region or counties within it will be able to opt-out if hospital capacity has improved. Once a region or county has moved out of the regional stay-at-home order, they will return to the Blueprint for a Safer Economy guidelines.
County-Level GuidelinesCounties continue to be categorized under the Blueprint for a Safer Economy guidelines, a four-tier system that ranges from the minimal-risk or "yellow" level, denoting low COVID-19 activity and minimal restrictions, to the widespread or "purple" level, which denotes high levels of COVID-19 activity and the tightest restrictions. These guidelines remain in place for all counties where the stay-at-home order has not been triggered, which as of Jan. 13, include all those in the Northern California and Greater Sacramento regions.
In jurisdictions classified at the widespread or "purple" level, residents must remain at home 2200-0500 unless they are employed in the field of critical infrastructure maintenance, are responding to an emergency, or are performing other activities in which they do not interact with people from other households. Family entertainment centers, movie theaters, gyms and fitness centers, places of worship, zoos, and dine-in restaurants can only open if they are able to operate outdoors. Bars must remain closed. Retail stores, bookstores, shopping malls, and libraries can open at a 25-percent capacity. As of Jan. 13, the following 54 of California's 58 counties are at this level:
Alameda, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Contra Costa, Del Norte, El Dorado, Fresno, Glenn, Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Lake, Lassen, Los Angeles, Madera, Marin, Mendocino, Merced, Modoc, Mono, Monterey, Napa, Nevada, Orange, Placer, Plumas, Riverside, Sacramento, San Benito, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Tulare, Tuolumne, Ventura, Yolo, and Yuba
At the substantial or "red" risk level, movie theaters, places of worship, museums, zoos, and indoor services at restaurants may open at 25-percent capacity. Cultural ceremonies are permitted at 25 percent of the venue's capacity. Stores and shopping malls may resume operations at 50-percent capacity. Gyms and fitness centers can open at 10-percent capacity. There are three counties at the substantial level as of Jan. 13: Alpine, Mariposa, and Trinity.
At the moderate or "orange" risk level, movie theaters, museums, places of worship, and indoor services at restaurants can open at 50-percent capacity. Gyms, indoor playgrounds, and family entertainment centers can open at a 25-percent capacity. Small theme parks may resume limited outdoor operations at 25-percent capacity or 500 people, whichever is less. Outdoor stadiums may host sporting events at 20-percent capacity. Bars can open for outdoor services only. As of Jan. 13, Sierra is the only county at the moderate risk level.
At the minimal or "yellow" risk level, most businesses can operate. Bars, gyms, fitness centers, indoor playgrounds, family entertainment centers, movie theaters, places of worship, and indoor dine-in services at restaurants can open at 50-percent capacity. All theme parks may operate at a 25-percent capacity, and sporting events at stadiums may occur at a 25-percent capacity. As of Jan. 13, there are no counties at the minimal risk level.
Concert venues, convention centers, live theaters, and nightclubs must remain closed statewide. Events such as music festivals remain banned. Individuals over the age of two must wear facemasks whenever outside the home, except when they are alone or complying with social distancing standards. Persons with medical conditions are exempt. All businesses must comply with certain requirements, such as enhancing sanitation procedures, closing off areas where people might gather, and observing social distancing standards, among other things.
Travel RestrictionsCalifornia officials have issued a travel advisory urging state residents to avoid travel for nonessential reasons more than 190 km (120 miles) away from their places of residence, or to any other states or countries. Authorities also strongly discourage any visitors from entering California, and urge anyone arriving from out-of-state to self-quarantine for 10 days, except those who routinely enter the state for essential reasons.
Additionally, authorities in some counties have imposed mandatory travel restrictions. Officials in Los Angeles county require nonessential travelers from outside the Southern California region to self-quarantine for 10 days upon arrival. Similarly, San Francisco county officials also require a 10-day self-quarantine for all nonessential travelers entering from outside the Bay Area, and Santa Clara County authorities require a 10-day self-quarantine for all nonessential travelers entering from a point of origin of more than 240 km (150 miles) from the county's borders.
Authorities could reimpose, extend, further ease, or otherwise amend any restrictions with little-to-no notice depending on disease activity over the coming weeks.
Heed the directives of the authorities and monitor local media for updates. Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.
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