Health officials announce stay-at-home order


Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune

Perko’s Cafe owner Kelly Molina and her son Tommy deliver a takeout order. They are closed for indoor dining but offer takeout, free delivery and Doordash/Grubhub.

SACRAMENTO — As COVID-19 case rates and hospitalizations continue to rise at an alarming pace and threaten to overwhelm the health care delivery system, California health officials announced a Regional Stay at Home Order that will be triggered if Intensive Care Unit (ICU) capacity drops below 15 percent in a given region.


The state health officials held a news conference on Friday to announce the San Joaquin Valley region, where Madera County resides, has an ICU capacity at 14.1 percent, below the 15 percent threshold allowed by the state.


The order will be in effect for three weeks, which began Sunday. It instructs Californians to stay at home as much as possible to limit the mixing with other households that can lead to COVID-19 spread. It allows access to (and travel for) critical services and allows outdoor activities to preserve Californians’ physical and mental health. This limited closure will help stop the surge and prevent overwhelming regional ICU capacity.


State health officials are tracking the state by five regions, including San Joaquin Valley — Northern California, Bay Area, Greater Sacramento and Southern California.


Residents are required to stay at home as much as possible and minimize mixing to reduce unnecessary exposure, while still being able to do important things like go to the doctor, buy groceries, pick up take out, go on a hike, or worship outdoors. K-12 schools that are already open can remain open and retailers can operate indoors at no more than 20 percent capacity to reduce exposure risk.


Counties are eligible to come off the Regional Stay at Home Order after three weeks if their hospital ICU capacity projected four weeks out reaches 15 percent. Counties will return to the Blueprint for a Safer Economy tier determined by their case rate and test positivity after they are eligible to exit the Regional Stay at Home Order.


“We are at a tipping point in our fight against the virus and we need to take decisive action now to prevent California’s hospital system from being overwhelmed in the coming weeks,” said Governor Gavin Newsom. “By invoking a Stay at Home Order for regions where ICU capacity falls below 15 percent, we can flatten the curve as we’ve done before and reduce stress on our health care system. I’m clear-eyed that this is hard on all of us — especially our small businesses who are struggling to get by. That’s why we leaned in to help our small business owners with new grants and tax relief to help us get through this month. If we stay home as much as possible, and wear masks when we have to go to the doctor, shop for groceries or go for a hike, California can come out of this in a way that saves lives and puts us on a path toward economic recovery.”


“We know what a struggle this pandemic has been for so many California families, but our actions have saved countless lives,” said Dr. Mark Ghaly, California Health and Human Services Secretary. “This targeted action will preserve vital ICU beds for people who need them — whether they’re COVID-19 patients or someone who has suffered a heart attack or a stroke.”


“Staying home for three weeks is a sacrifice, but if every Californian did that for a month, we could stop this disease in its tracks,” said Dr. Erica Pan, Acting State Public Health Officer. “This public health order strikes the balance between saving lives, providing essential services that we all rely on and still allowing Californians to participate in lower-risk outdoor activities that are crucial for our physical and mental health.”


The terms of the Regional Stay at Home Order closely mirror the March order, with some variations.


What does the Regional Stay at Home Order do?


The Regional Stay at Home Order sin effect for three weeks after the trigger and instructs Californians to stay at home as much as possible to limit the mixing with other households that can lead to COVID-19 spread. It allows access to (including travel for) critical services and allows outdoor activities to preserve Californians’ physical and mental health. This limited closure will help stop the surge and prevent overwhelming regional ICU capacity.


In any region that triggers a Regional Stay at Home Order because it drops below 15 percent ICU capacity, all operations in the following sectors must be closed:


• Indoor and outdoor playgrounds


• Indoor recreational facilities


• Hair salons and barbershops


• Personal care services


• Museums, zoos and aquariums


• Movie theaters


• Wineries


• Bars, breweries and distilleries


• Family entertainment centers


• Cardrooms and satellite wagering


• Limited services


• Live audience sports


• Amusement parks


The following sectors will have additional modifications, in addition to 100 percent masking and physical distancing:


• Outdoor recreational facilities: Allow outdoor operation only without any food, drink or alcohol sales. Additionally, overnight stays at campgrounds will not be permitted.


• Retail: Allow indoor operation at 20 percent capacity with entrance metering and no eating or drinking in the stores. Additionally, special hours should be instituted for seniors and others with chronic conditions or compromised immune systems.


• Shopping centers: Allow indoor operation at 20 percent capacity with entrance metering and no eating or drinking in the stores. Additionally, special hours should be instituted for seniors and others with chronic conditions or compromised immune systems.


• Hotels and lodging: Allow to open for critical infrastructure support only.


• Restaurants: Allow only for take-out or pick-up.


• Offices: Allow remote only except for critical infrastructure sectors where remote working is not possible.


• Places of worship: Allow outdoor services only.


• Entertainment production including professional sports: Allow operation without live audiences. Additionally, testing protocol and “bubbles” are highly encouraged.


The order does not modify existing state guidance regarding K-12 schools.


The following sectors are allowed to remain open when a remote option is not possible with appropriate infectious disease preventative measures including 100 percent masking and physical distancing:


• Critical Infrastructure


• Non-urgent medical and dental care


• Child care and pre-K

When does a Regional Stay at Home Order end?


The Regional Stay at Home Order will be implemented regionally once there is less than 15 percent ICU capacity remaining in the designated region. After three weeks from the start of the Stay-at-Home Order, the following criteria would apply:


1. End for a county in a region if the region’s ICU capacity projected out four weeks (from three weeks since the Stay-at-Home Order started) is above or equal to 15 percent. Each county in the region would be assigned to a tier based on the Blueprint for a Safer Economy.


2. Remain in effect in a county if the region’s ICU capacity projected out four weeks (from three weeks since the Stay-at-Home Order started) is less than 15 percent. The order would remain in effect until the region’s ICU capacity meets criteria (1) above. This would be assessed on a weekly basis.


Non-essential travel lodging


Except as otherwise required by law, no hotel or lodging entity in California shall accept or honor out of state reservations for non-essential travel, unless the reservation is for at least the minimum time period required for quarantine and the persons identified in the reservation will quarantine in the hotel or lodging entity until after that time period has expired.

Can people go outside?


Members of the same household are encouraged to maintain physical and mental health by safely going to a park, hike, walk or bike ride when safe to do so and socially distanced. Californians are also encouraged to keep connected with loved ones virtually.

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