COVID-19: California orders 40 million residents to stay at home

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday evening announced he’s enacting a “statewide order” for its nearly 40 million residents to “stay at home,” a wide-reaching measure for the most populous state in the country as the coronavirus spreads.

The order took effect at midnight Friday. The order prohibits gatherings outside and requires nonessential businesses to close. The measure is intended to slow the spread of the virus. “We need to bend the curve in the state of California,” Newsom said during a news conference. “There’s a social contract here. People, I think, recognize the need to do more. They will adjust and adapt as they have.”

Public events have been canceled and bars, dine-in restaurants, gyms and clubs will be closed. Essential services such as grocery stores, pharmacies and banks will stay open.

Newsom’s office projected the virus will infect more than half of California’s within two months, according to a letter he sent to President Trump on Wednesday where he said the state has been disproportionately impacted

There are more than 1,000 cases in California.

The directive went into effect on Thursday evening, restricting non-essential movement, while allowing essential business and services like grocery stores and pharmacies to operate.

“We’re not victims of circumstance. We can make decisions to meet moments.

This is a moment we need to make tough decisions,” Newsom said in a televised address.

Newsom said the decision would be enforced through “social pressure” and regulatory frameworks, but he did not believe the order would require policing.

The order allows residents to leave their homes for exercise and fresh air.

Newsom’s state-wide order was announced shortly after Los Angeles County announced a similar measure.

Six counties in Northern California, including San Francisco, issued stay-at-home orders last week.

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