It’s still showtime in Hollywood but no-go time all across Southern California as a slew of new lockdown edicts take effect.
Gov. Gavin Newsom last week ordered a new set of draconian rules that closed bars, wineries and a variety of personal care services, such as salons, in parts of the state. Restaurants cannot provide anything other than takeout, and people from different households are forbidden from gathering, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The new rules, which went into effect Saturday, bar hotels from accepting tourists and limit retailers to no more than 20 percent capacity indoors.
The Democratic governor’s order even bans camping, the Times reported. State park campgrounds closed Monday.
“This is the most challenging moment since the beginning of this pandemic,” Newsom said Thursday, according to KABC-TV. “If there was ever any time to put aside your doubt, to put aside your skepticism, to put aside your cynicism, to put aside your ideology, to put aside any consideration except this: Lives are in the balance. Lives will be lost unless we do more than we’ve ever done.”
However, the entertainment industry can keep rolling along under the new rules, although it must get by without live audiences.
The restrictions are affecting 27 million people in the Southern California and San Joaquin Valley regions, according to CNN.
The rules, which will not be lifted for at least three weeks, are triggered when a region as drawn by Newsom has its intensive care unit capacity fall below 15 percent. On Saturday, Southern California’s ICU capacity was 12.5 percent, while the San Joaquin Valley region was at 8.6 percent.
The orders have drawn protests from business owners who have been working hard to obey the rules.
“We understand why these measures are being taken. We have nothing but concern and solidarity for frontline hospital workers,” Keegan Hicks, owner of the Harbor Grill in Dana Point, told the Times. “But we believe that outdoor dining — as long as the restaurant is taking the proper protocols — is not responsible for the spread of the coronavirus.
“We’ve been open since May,” he said. “We have 60 employees and have had zero transmission among employees and zero customer complaints.”
Hilary Goldner, co-owner of Sweet 1017 Hairdressing in Seal Beach, called the new lockdown “devastating.”
“We had had the two closures already, and this one comes at the busiest time of the year. Everyone is trying to move forward with their lives, and we play a role in that. It’s unfortunate and disappointing,” she said.
“We feel that we are already in compliance,” Goldner said. “We’re in masks; our clients are in masks. We’re sanitizing. We’re going above and beyond for the safety of our clients.”
Newsom also has encountered pushback from law enforcement officials on the new rules.
Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said his department will not enforce mandates about mask-wearing or gatherings.
“Compliance with health orders is a matter of personal responsibility and not a matter of law enforcement,” he said in a statement.
Please see my statement regarding Southern California being placed under the Governor’s regional stay-at-home order. pic.twitter.com/lgvvHGnasp
— OC Sheriff Don Barnes (@OCSheriffBarnes) December 5, 2020
But state officials say the rise in COVID-19 cases requires action.
Los Angeles County Health Director Barbara Ferrer said that in the coming week, the county’s number of COVID-19 hospitalizations could jump from 2,855 on Friday to near 5,000.
“[I]f even 20% of these patients need care in the ICU, they will require 1,000 staffed ICU beds. This is our likely reality in two weeks,” she said in a statement, according to the Times.
“And if we all can’t get behind the existing directives to stay home as much as possible and avoid all nonessential activities and places where you are likely to be in contact with non-household members, we are likely to bear witness to one of the worst healthcare crises our county has seen in our lifetime,” Ferrer said.
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