Updated: Apr 2, 2020
The state of California takes drastic measures to control the spread of the coronavirus as the number of illnesses continue to rise.
By Solomon Smith, Political News Editor
Late Thursday evening, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a statement directing Californians to stay home to stem the rising numbers of those infected by the coronavirus.
“We need to bend the curve in the state of California, and in order to do that we need to recognize the reality,” said Newsom in a press conference. “The fact is the experience that we’re having on the ground in the state of California, the experience that’s manifesting all across the United States, and for that matter, all across the rest of the world requires us to adjust our thinking and to adjust our activities.”
The order set mandatory closures of all non-essential businesses and state facilities Thursday night, with no end date mentioned, affecting all 39.6 million California residents. The California COVID-19 website strongly recommends that Californians stay home, save for essential business like doctors’ appointments, grocery shopping or checking on loved ones. Restaurants will remain open for pickup and delivery only, while coffee shops, bars, malls and shopping centers have been ordered closed. The National Guard was activated in some places to help with food distribution as Californians began to stock up for their self- imposed quarantines. Newsom has not activated law enforcement, however, opting instead to use regulations, fees and social pressure.
“We are confident that the people of the state of California will abide by it, they’ll do the right thing, they’ll meet this moment, they’ll step up, and they have over the course of the last number of weeks,” said Newsom. “I have confidence in that, I have confidence in it because I have seen it.”
Infections in Los Angeles County have spiked in the last few days, and the state’s closures are an effort to flatten the bell curve, reducing the sharp climb of coronavirus cases. According to the County of Los Angeles Public Health, 292 infections and two deaths were confirmed, and neighborhoods surrounding Valley have also reported instances of the disease. Sherman Oaks has five reported cases and Valley Glen has reported one, according to the County of Los Angeles’ Facebook page. In a letter to President Donald J. Trump, the governor estimated 25.5 million infections “over an eight-week period.”
The order comes on the heels of similar statements from other state and local municipalities, but is one of the most restrictive to date. Valley College President Barry Gribbons has been updating staff and faculty through Zoom but has not mentioned the new state announcement yet. The Los Angeles Community College District, however, has updated their coronavirus website in response to the state, supporting the move.
“Effective immediately, I am directing that all LACCD faculty, staff and students to follow the ‘Safer At Home’ health orders issued today to limit the community spread of COVID-19,” wrote Chancellor Francisco Rodriguez in an updated press release. “While we are still technically ‘open,’ the vast majority of services and buildings are closed to the public as we transition to a remote work and learning environment.”