California orders residents to stay home to mitigate the spread of COVID-19

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Gavin Newsom/ Gage Skidmore/ Flickr/ CC BY-SA 2.0

California Governor Gavin Newsom has issued the first statewide mandatory restriction in the United States to slow the spread of COVID-19.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered the state’s nearly 40 million residents to stay home, excluding essential trips, in line with similar restrictions that have been previously enacted in seven Bay Area counties, according to CNN News.

Newsom’s order marks the first statewide mandatory restriction in the United States to help combat the COVID-19 outbreak. The order, which will remain in place until further notice, permits travel for crucial purposes such as grocery shopping, health care, or commute to exempt jobs.

In many areas across the state, businesses that are considered unvital, such as movie theaters, gyms, and bars, have been ordered to close. Restaurants have been limited to takeout or delivery services. These restrictions came a day after Newsom warned that over half the state is projected to become infected by the virus in two months.

“This is not a permanent state, this is a moment in time,” Newsom said to CNBC News in a press conference. “We will look back at these decisions as pivotal.”

According to Newsom, the order will not be enforced by law enforcement.

The order follows Newsom’s request to President Donald Trump to send a Navy medical ship to provide more health care options for the state, as California helps people returning to the United States from overseas. In Newsom’s request, he stated that the ship is necessary to “decompress” California’s health care system, amidst surging infection rates.

At the moment, however, Newsom urged Californians that the best thing they can do to help stop the spread of COVID-19 is to practice social distancing and remain in their homes.

“We are confident that the people of the state of California will abide by [the order] and do the right thing,” Newsom said.