Governor Gavin Newsom announces new stay-at-home order

Posted at 4:48 PM, Dec 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-03 20:13:52-05

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KERO) — On Thursday Governor Gavin Newsom outlined a new regional stay-at-home order, as health officials raise concern over a COVID spike amid the holiday season. 23ABC’s Austin Westfall explains what the order means for Kern residents.

On Thursday, state officials introduced some of the most aggressive virus-fighting moves they’ve made since March but only to certain regions. The new order applies to regions in the state that are getting hit hardest by the pandemic during this winter. And it could start applying to Kern County soon.

“We are implementing a stay-at-home order for three weeks,” said Governor Gavin Newsom. “Regions where the ICU capacity is falling below 15 percent.”

Governor Newsom announced that the San Joaquin Valley region, along with most of the rest of the state is expected to dip below that threshold some time early this month. If that happens economic restrictions will begin for those three weeks.

“Hair salons, barbershops, nail salons, tattoo parlors, massage facilities, should be shut down,” explained Matt Constantine, director of Kern County Public Health.

Constantine said, according to the new order, all gatherings with people outside of your household would also be included in those restrictions, along with indoor and outdoor playgrounds.

“It would be the most severe restrictions that we’ve had to date.”

The state is also now asking residents to cancel all upcoming travel plans amid a worrisome holiday season. Constantine said that Kern’s ICU capacity has held steady as of late at around 20 percent. Still, since the new order is divided into large regions Kern is lumped in with multiple counties like Tulare, Fresno, and others.

“It’s concerning to me that if we’re grouped in and we’re judged as a region, where I think we’ve done really well, I hope that just doesn’t drag us down,” added Constantine.

The state says it’s using a regional system, in part, because that’s how hospital systems work. California Secretary of Health and Human Services, Dr. Mark Ghaly, explained how a region would transition back after the potential three-week order.

“Each county will then go back to the appropriate tier based on their independent data, not their regional data, but their county data.”

Some more restrictions would be included if Kern were to fall below that 15 percent ICU threshold. Outdoor dining would no longer be available and retail stores would be reduced from 25 to 20 percent capacity.