Highlight · Local

Newsom ups coronavirus response, orders all Californians shelter-in-place

Following through on warnings issued days earlier, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order Thursday ordering all Californians shelter-in-place, effective Thursday night.

The order calls on all workers for businesses, except for those within 16 Federally-identified essential sectors, to shutter operations.

Akin to shelter-in-place orders issued by California’s major municipalities, essential consumer-facing businesses – gas stations, pharmacies, food service companies (groceries, convenience stores, take-out and delivery restaurants), financial institutions, and laundromats and dry cleaners – will remain open to serve the public.

The restriction does not preclude outdoor activity at home or accounting for social distancing.

Similar to local efforts to enact shelter-in-place orders, Newsom said he didn’t expect the need for law enforcement to be utilized to enforce the order.

“I don’t believe the people of California need to be told through law enforcement that it’s appropriate just to home isolate,” he said.

Two days earlier, Newsom said that he could martial law within hours of issuing a declaration. That claim was made at the same time he activated 500 California National Guard troops to provide logistical support.

“We have the ability to martial law and things like that can layer new requirements and authority,” Newsom said on Tuesday. “If we feel the necessity to do that, we can do that. I don’t want to get alarmist, but we are scaling all of our considerations.”

Hours before his press conference, Newsom released a letter sent to President Donald Trump requesting the USNS Mercy, the U.S. Navy’s largest hospital ship, be docked at the Port of Los Angeles to aid the metropolitan area’s overloaded health care system.

In the letter, Newsom claimed that 56 percent of California – more than 20 million people – would be infected with coronavirus within eight weeks.

A spokesman for Newsom clarified that the figure in the letter did not account for preventative measures that Californians have already undertaken, including self quarantine.

Alex Tavlian
Alex Tavlian is the Executive Editor of The San Joaquin Valley Sun and Executive Director of Valley Future Foundation. You can reach Alex at alex.tavlian@sjvsun.com.