California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday ordered all Californians to stay at home, marking the first mandatory restrictions placed on the lives of all 40 million residents in the state’s fight against the novel coronavirus.
The governor’s action comes at a critical time in California, where 19 people have died and an additional 958 have tested positive for the disease.
The mandatory order allows Californians to continue to visit gas stations, pharmacies, grocery stores, farmers markets, food banks, convenience stores, take-out and delivery restaurants, banks and laundromats. People can leave their homes to care for a relative or a friend or seek healthcare services. It exempts workers in 16 federal critical infrastructure sectors, including food and agriculture, healthcare, transportation, energy, financial services, emergency response and others.
No time frame was set for when the order would end.
Newsom asked Californians to practice social distancing when performing such “necessary activities.”