Newsom’s statewide “stay at home” order allows only essential businesses to remain open

The governor’s directive for California’s 40M residents comes amid the spreading coronavirus, and after he had previously let counties handle containment efforts themselves

Los Angeles /
Mar.March 20, 2020 07:47 AM
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Gov. Gavin Newsom is ordering the state’s 40 million residents to stay at home in an urgent effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus, a directive that follows Los Angeles’ move to strictly limit bars, restaurants and other high-trafficked businesses, and that imposed a moratorium on evictions.

“A state as large as ours, a nation-state, is many parts, but at the end of the day, we’re one body,” Newsom said Thursday evening. “There’s a mutuality, there’s a recognition of our interdependence that requires of this moment that we direct a statewide order for people to stay at home.”

Those who do not abide by the order could be charged with a misdemeanor.

“We are confident that the people of the state of California will abide by it, will do the right thing,” Newsom added.

On Thursday evening, L.A. County ordered nonessential businesses to close with an exemption for companies that can maintain their operations by “telecommuting or other remote means, while allowing all individuals to maintain shelter in their residences.”

The following business, outlined by state and L.A. County rules, are allowed to continue current operations:

  • Healthcare facilities;
  • Establishments that provide shelter, including hotels;
  • Banks;
  • Gas Stations ;
  • Pharmacies;
  • Food providers, including grocery stores, restaurants with pickup and delivery service, food banks, farmers markets and convenience stores;
  • Laundromats and dry cleaning services;
  • Essential state and local government functions and services.

In his order, Newsom additionally exempted 16 “critical infrastructure sectors” as outlined by the Department of Homeland Security.

The federal list includes health care facilities, financial services, information technology, transportation systems — among others.

As of Wednesday night, construction work on a variety of commercial and residential structures was continuing in L.A. County. Those operations are expected to shut down.

To soften the economic blow, L.A. is lending up to $20,000 to city businesses impacted by the coronavirus emergency.

Meanwhile, the L.A. City Council has moved to extend a citywide eviction moratorium on commercial and residential tenants to 12 months.


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