Hello and welcome to Essential California bulletin. It is Friday 4 December, and I write from Los Angeles.
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Governor Gavin Newsom on Thursday announced a new “regional stay-at-home order” that will be triggered by regional intensive care capacity. The new orders resemble the first stay-at-home order issued by Newsom in March, but will be less stringent and comprehensive.
The writing had been on the wall for a few days as public health officials sounded increasingly urgent alarm bells about the rapid dwindling capacity of the California hospital system. Things are expected to get worse in the coming days, as the effects of the Thanksgiving holiday pass-through are not yet fully recorded in the number of cases, let alone hospitalizations.
“Ultimately, if we don’t act now, our hospital system will be overwhelmed,” Newsom said.
[Read the story: “Newsom orders new limits on California businesses and activities as COVID-19 soars” in the Los Angeles Times]
The governor’s announcement came as the pandemic tightened its deadly grip on California and the nation. In the past seven days, the state has recorded an average of 14,869 cases per day, a 47.8% increase from two weeks ago, and hospitalizations have never been higher.
Nationally, the number of Americans hospitalized with COVID-19 has eclipsed 100,000 for the first time and new American cases exceed 200,000 per day, according to figures released Thursday.
How will the order work?
The ordinance divides the state into five regions – the Bay Area, Greater Sacramento, Northern California, San Joaquin Valley, and Southern California – for the purpose of determining the capacity of intensive care units and potential closures of local services. (A full breakdown of these regions, county by county, is available here.)
The stay-at-home order will be implemented at the regional level and will come into effect when the intensive care capacity of a given region falls below 15%.
When will the order take effect?
Once an area’s intensive care bed capacity drops below 15%, shutdown rules will take effect within 24 hours. But the general public health order does not come into effect until Saturday afternoon, so the earliest an area could see closures would be on Sunday.
Newsom said he expects Southern California, the San Joaquin Valley, Greater Sacramento and northern California to reach the threshold between the next day or two and next week, according to the how hospitalizations are carried out in the field.
He suggested the Bay Area could “have a few extra days” with current projections placing them in the target range between mid-December and the end of December.
But based on the state’s current projections, the five regions are expected to fall below that 15% threshold in intensive care by the end of the month.
Once the rules take effect in a given region, authorities expect they will be in place for at least the next three weeks. After that, any reopening of closed wards and activities will be based on four-week projections of a region’s intensive care capacity – suggesting that the new general restrictions could easily last until the end of the year in some communities.
What will the order actually mean once it goes into effect?
As my colleagues explain in their story, affected communities will be required to shut down personal service businesses, including hair and nail salons, playgrounds, family entertainment centers, and campgrounds. for overnight stays. Open-air museums, zoos, aquariums and open-air cinemas will also have to close. Restaurants will be required to return to take-out service only.
[See also: “What you need to know about California’s new stay-at-home order” in the Los Angeles Times]
Retail stores will be limited to 20% of their indoor customer capacity at all times, with requirements for store managers to ensure there is no food or drink inside. . But all retail businesses will still be allowed to stay open, unlike what we saw in the stricter March stay-at-home order.
The new regional stay-at-home ordinance also prohibits non-essential travel. Hotels can remain open to support accommodation needed by “critical infrastructure sectors,” but the ordinance prohibits the use of hotels for tourism, recreation and other non-essential reasons.
You can still walk your dog, go for a hike or visit the beach. Trails and parks (minus playgrounds) will remain open.
My colleagues report that K-12 schools will not be affected by the new rules, and public school campuses that were allowed to open for at least partial in-person instruction when conditions were better in early fall may. stay open.
What else to know
As my colleagues report, the ordinance is likely to exacerbate the frustration of many Californians, particularly in trying to better understand how state officials calculate the relative risk of activities such as children using playgrounds. and physical distancing in hair salons.
[See also: “California pioneered the COVID-19 stay-at-home lockdown. Now, it faces a backlash” in the Los Angeles Times]
Newsom said more corporate relief was coming, saying it was working with the Legislature on a broader aid plan. He also clarified that the restrictions would be a temporary measure needed to bend the curve, not a permanent state.
“There is light at the end of the tunnel,” the governor told Californians. “We’re a few months away from really seeing real progress with the vaccine. “
And now, here’s what’s happening in California:
A fire that erupted in canyon country in Orange County late Wednesday quickly jumped into nearby hills, whipped by Santa Ana winds and fed by dry brush. The Bond fire nearly quadrupled in size in just a few hours, exploding to around 7,200 acres on Thursday afternoon. About 25,000 residents live in the area which is now subject to a mandatory evacuation order. Los Angeles Times
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A Torrance real estate developer has pleaded guilty to a massive Los Angeles countryside money laundering case, closing a major chapter in a case that covered more than six years of political contributions to eight politicians. Los Angeles Times
Warner Bros. announced Thursday that it will be releasing its entire 2021 movie roster on HBO Max. The decision to put a list of big budget movies on a streaming service along with their theatrical release marks a startling departure from the way Hollywood usually does business. Los Angeles Times
Tired of your neighborhood walk? This interactive performance meets podcast lets you try someone else’s podcast.LAist
A wave of applicants crashed the LA County Restaurant Aid website. The grant application portal crashed Thursday morning, hours after it was first opened. County officials are working to resolve the issue, but it is not known when the site will be back online. Los Angeles Daily News
An annual ceremony to honor the burial of the unclaimed LA County dead was held online for the first time on Thursday. The event usually draws hundreds of people, but this year they watched the livestream on Facebook and shared their prayers in the comments section. Los Angeles Times
POLICY AND GOVERNMENT
The corruption scandal that engulfed San Francisco City Hall this year involves a complex and ever-growing web of people and allegations. Here’s a handy graphical breakdown explaining what’s going on and who’s involved. Chronicle of San Francisco
CRIME AND COURTS
Prominent California Democratic strategist Nathan Ballard arrested on domestic violence charges in Napa. Ballard is a longtime friend and advisor to Governor Newsom. Politics
HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT
Are you a California resident who had to go to great lengths to self-quarantine after being exposed to the coronavirus? My colleagues would love to hear about your experiences for a story. Los Angeles Times
An emergency field hospital at the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento will open on Wednesday. The temporary field hospital in the practice center building was installed earlier this year, but was only used to treat a few patients. State officials said the facility would give them flexibility if regional hospital capacity was exceeded, believing they would be happy to see it remain vacant. Sacramento Bee
THE CULTURE OF CALIFORNIA
Need to cancel your vacation travel plans? Here is the latest information on changes and refunds. Los Angeles Times
Homeowners in an upscale Orange County neighborhood have erected fences to keep strangers away from a public path. Laguna Niguel’s popular Long View Trail offers stunning ocean views. Orange County Register
A poem to start your Friday: “A house called tomorrow” by Alberto Ríos. Poets.org
Free online games
Get our free daily crossword, sudoku, word search and arcade games in our new game center at latimes.com/games.
ALMANAC OF CALIFORNIA
Los Angeles: sunny, 73. San Diego: sunny, 72. San Francisco: sunny, 64. San José: sunny, 68. Fresno: sunny, 64. Sacramento: sunny, 66. More time is here.
today Californian memory just Clark James Mishler:
I arrived in Los Angeles from Michigan in August 1968 to attend the Art Center. Everything was new to me and the air was laden with smog. After two weeks the pain in my eyes and chest subsided – I had finally adjusted to my new home. My first trip to LACMA was memorable. The elevator opened to the second floor and I was confronted with a gigantic painting by Franz Kline. I leaned against the wall and caught my breath. A few weeks later the Santa Ana winds came in and I understood why people had moved here, the view was spectacular!
If you have a memory or story about the Golden State, share it with us. (Please limit your story to 100 words.)
Please let us know what we can do to make this newsletter more useful to you. Send comments, complaints, ideas and unrelated book recommendations to Julia Wick. Follow her on Twitter @Sherlyholmes.