With coronavirus cases surging at a record pace, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a new stay-at-home order Thursday and said if people don't comply the state's hospitals will be overwhelmed with infected patients. Newsom's latest effort to keep people from gathering with others from outside their households divides the state into five regions and links business closures and travel restrictions to hospital ICU capacity. When a region has fewer than 15% of its ICU beds available, new restrictions are imposed. Newsom said four regions—all but the San Francisco Bay area—could meet that threshold "within a day or two." A litany of changes would take effect, including closing hair salons, barber shops, and movie theaters. Restaurants may only serve takeout and delivery, and playgrounds will be off-limits.
Retailers and shopping centers would have to limit stores to 20% capacity during the busy holiday shopping season. The order takes effect Saturday and, once triggered, regions would have 24 hours to implement the rules, which stay in effect at least three weeks, the AP reports. The rules don't apply to public schools with in-person learning. "The bottom line is if we don’t act now our hospital system will be overwhelmed," Newsom said during an online news conference from his home. "This is the most challenging moment since the beginning of this pandemic." Newsom acknowledged the difficulty in following the rules. But he urged people to stay vigilant, promising the worst is almost over. "We do not anticipate having to do this again but we really all need to step up," he said. "We need to meet this moment head on."
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