California Gov. Gavin Newsom Issues Surprise Retraction of Controversial Stay-at-Home Order
In a surprise move, California public health officials are lifting a controversial stay-at-home order. The rule had forbidden people in affected regions from socializing with members outside their households and imposed a raft of restrictions on businesses in much of the state.
“California is slowly starting to emerge from the most dangerous surge of this pandemic yet,” said California Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly in a press release today. “Californians heard the urgent message to stay home when possible and our surge after the December holidays did not overwhelm the health care system to the degree we had feared.”
“Today we can start to see some real light at the end of the tunnel,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom at a press conference this afternoon.
The stay-at-home order, issued in early December, divided the state into five regions. The rules snapped into effect whenever a region’s hospital intensive care unit (ICU) capacity fell below 15 percent.
Where it was in effect, the order banned restaurants from operating outdoor dining and kept personal services businesses, such as nail salons, from operating at all. Retail businesses were required to operate at 20 percent capacity.
Before its snap repeal, the order was in effect in three regions: Southern California, the San Joaquin Valley, and the Bay Area. It had been lifted in the Sacramento region and had never gone into effect in the Northern California region. At his press conference, Newsom shared state projections showing that all regions of the state would have more than 15 percent ICU capacity by February 21.
Those restrictions were more severe than the state’s prior Blueprint for a Safer Economy. That system put counti
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