Updated Dec. 11
Less than a week after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the possibility of more restrictions, the Greater Sacramento Region — which encompasses 13 counties — is now under a new stay-at-home order as of Thursday evening as intensive care unit capacity at hospitals continues to drop.
The California Department of Public Health announced on Wednesday the region’s ICU bed capacity fell below 15%, the threshold that triggers the stay-at-home order. The region’s current ICU capacity is 14.3%.
The region’s counties had 24 hours after the announcement to put restrictions in place, as the new stay-at-home order went into effect at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday.
The restrictions affect nearly 3 million people, adding to the more than 27 million residents in the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California regions who fell under the stay-at-home orders last weekend.
Here are the counties affected:
- Greater Sacramento: Alpine, Amador, Butte, Colusa, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Sierra, Sutter, Yolo, and Yuba
Under the new restrictions, restaurants will be limited to takeout only, and bars, hair salons, barbershops and other businesses will be forced to close for at least three weeks.
Retail stores and shopping centers are permitted to remain open indoors at 20% capacity. Outdoor recreation facilities can also stay open with modifications, and entertainment production, including professional sports, can operate without a live audience.
Residents in counties affected by the order can still go to the doctor, buy groceries, go on a hike or worship outdoors. K-12 schools that are already open can continue operating indoors.
Once regions fall under the stay-at-home order, they have to remain under it for three weeks. The order can end once a county’s ICU capacity projected out four weeks is above or equal to 15%.
Despite COVID-19 cases surging and ICU capacity dwindling, there’s been growing resistance among business owners, residents and elected officials.
Sheriffs in Sacramento, Los Angeles and Orange counties have already come out to say they won’t fine or arrest people or punish businesses who don’t comply with the new orders, something many in law enforcement have repeated since the start of the pandemic. Instead, law enforcement officials said they’ll “educate” people and businesses that violate restrictions.
A judge in LA overturned a local restriction of outdoor dining on Tuesday, even as the state’s orders are still in place.
As five Bay Area counties and the city of Berkeley announced last week they would voluntarily implement restrictions, officials in San Mateo County said they want more evidence transmission happens at certain businesses before they go under stay-at-home orders.
At least some of the pushback has resulted in change. After complaints from parents and legislators, the state on Wednesday quietly updated its COVID-19 website reopening playgrounds in regions under the stay-at-home order. The change came with no public announcement from the governor or state health officials.
Clarification: We've updated our headline to be clearer that the regional stay-at-home order in the Greater Sacramento region takes effect at 11:59 p.m. Thursday, one minute before midnight on Friday.
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the status of schools under the new order. K-12 schools that are already open can continue operating indoors with no capacity limit.
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