California Issues Limited Stay at Home Order Due to Hospitalizations
It would appear that residents in San Bernardino County and all other Southern California counties will be adapting to a new Stay at Home Order in response to a rapid growth in COVID-19 cases and a substantial increase in hospitalizations and ICU admissions. The new order is expected to go into place as soon as tomorrow and will initially remain in place for three weeks.
In his press conference today, Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state is experiencing more coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, and the concern is that the statewide hospital system will become overwhelmed. The litmus test for the health order is whether a region in the state is showing 15% or less ICU (intensive care unit) capacity.
The new order segments the state into five separate districts. San Bernardino County will be part of the Southern California district, which also includes Imperial, Inyo, Mono, Orange, Riverside, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.
San Bernardino County has now reached over 85% of ICU capacity – which is similar to neighboring counties — and Public Health Director Corwin Porter is expecting the state will announce the Stay at Home Order tomorrow for Southern California. This will mandate the closure of the following within 24 hours:
- Indoor and outdoor playgrounds
- Personal care services, including hair and nail salons and barbershops
- Indoor recreational facilities
- Family entertainment centers
- Museums, zoos and aquariums
- Bars and wineries
- Youth sports
- Campgrounds (for overnight stays)
- On-site dining at restaurants (take-out, pick-up and delivery only)
- Hotels and motels except for critical infrastructure support
In addition, the new mandate limits retail stores to 20% capacity, and eating or drinking inside stores is prohibited. The new rules also ban non-essential travel, but outdoor recreation facilities will remain open
Schools that have received waivers permitting them to provide in-person instruction are allowed to stay open. Doctors and dentists may also continue seeing patients.
“This is a very unfortunate development, but necessary in light of current trends,” said Porter. “The key objective is to keep our hospitals and ICU units from being overrun with new cases. The fact that our numbers are actually worse than what we saw in April should give everyone pause.”
Still, Porter noted that state and county officials are still encouraging people to go outside for various forms of exercise.
“We are very mindful of how staying inside and isolated can negatively affect people’s mental health,” said Porter. “We advocate getting outside for a walk around your neighborhood, a run, a bike ride or to walk your dog — being sure to maintain social distancing and follow other well-known safety measures.”
Newsom also announced that the state has earmarked an additional $500 million in relief funds for businesses, with grants of up to $25,000 being provided to small businesses, nonprofit organizations and cultural institutions. Information on different aid options for small businesses and employers can be found at https://covid19.ca.gov/business-and-employers/.