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Health and Medicine

California To Impose Curfew Order Starting Saturday As COVID-19 Cases Surge

University of Beer uses shower curtains to separate customers for COVID-19 June 12, 2020.
Andrew Nixon

California announced Thursday a curfew order to slow the state's surging coronavirus outbreak ahead of the holidays, according to Gov. Gavin Newsom's office.

California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly spoke at 3 p.m. Watch below

The announcement comes days after Gov. Gavin Newsom hinted at a possible curfew and said 40 counties would move into more restrictive tiers in the state's reopening system as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to surge. State officials reported a nearly 50% spike in infections during the first week in November.

According to the governor's office, the curfew will require all "non-essential work, movement and gatherings" to stop between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. It covers all counties in the most restrictive purple tier, which signals widespread COVID-19 transmission. That means, 94% of the state's population will face curfews.

The curfew will take effect 10 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 21, and remain in effect until 5 a.m. Dec. 21.

“The virus is spreading at a pace we haven’t seen since the start of this pandemic and the next several days and weeks will be critical to stop the surge,” Newsom said in a news release. “It is crucial that we act to decrease transmission and slow hospitalizations before the death count surges. We’ve done it before and we must do it again.”

Some health experts are skeptical about the effectiveness of this type of curfew. Dr. Lee Riley, an infectious disease researcher with the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, says it will only impact a small number of people.

“That’s a time frame where not many people are really out there gathering,” he said. “Most people are probably home and asleep by then.”

A number of other states and local governments have recently implemented curfews. Ohio put a statewide curfew in place earlier this week, and New York recently announced a curfew for bars and restaurants.