California Residents Ordered to Stay Home, as Non-Essential Services Close

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California residents have been ordered to stay at home, except to get food or other essential services, in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the order in a press conference on Thursday night, saying it will remain in place until further notice.

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“This is a moment we need to make tough decisions,” Newsom said. “It’s time for all of us to recognize, as individuals and as a community, we need to do more to meet this moment.”

The order mirrors one announced shortly beforehand in Los Angeles County, and to “shelter in place” orders that have gone into effect in 17 other counties around the state in the last few days.

Residents are still allowed to go grocery stores, farmers markets, banks, laundromats, and gas stations.

In Los Angeles County, officials called the mandate a “Safer at Home” order. The order closes “non-essential” retail stores, playgrounds, museums, indoor malls and shopping centers. The county order also bans gatherings of 10 people or more.

Newsom said that the state would rely on a “social pressure” and “self-regulation” to enforce the order.

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

The state had previously ordered the closure of movie theaters, bars, and nightclubs, and had ordered restaurants to stop offering “dine-in” service. Restaurants are still allowed to offer take-out and delivery service.

The Los Angeles County order specifically exempted hardware stores, nurseries, and health care providers. Plumbers and electricians are allowed to remain in business.

Workers were told to stay at home unless their job entails an “essential” service.

“The only time you should leave your home is for essential activities and needs,” said L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti. “This is not a request. This is an order.”

Barbara Ferrer, the L.A. County public health director, said the county order would expire on April 19, though it could be extended.

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