He suggested ordering the state to stay home could have an outsize impact on the already struggling U.S. economy.
BERKELEY — Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday ordered California’s nearly 40 million residents to stay home, making it the first state to impose that strict mandate on all residents to counteract a looming surge of new infections.
The order takes effect immediately and remains in place “until further notice.” Californians are not allowed to leave home except for essential purposes. They are allowed to purchase groceries, prescriptions and health care, as well as commute to jobs deemed essential.
The governor’s order comes with misdemeanor penalties for anyone who violates the restrictions, though he said he believes social pressure will keep people home rather than law enforcement.
“There’s a social contract here,” Newsom said. “People, I think, recognize the need to do more and meet his moment.”
Newsom said the order has to remain in effect indefinitely. He has repeatedly said the next eight weeks are crucial to bend the curve and stop the rapid contagion. He also said, however, that he does not expect the order to last “many, many months.”
Despite strong guidance to stay home — and enforceable orders in nearly two dozen counties — a small number of people in California are still playing basketball, hanging out together on beaches and congregating in parks.
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