What California’s new limited curfew to battle COVID-19 means

Pedestrians, one pushing a stroller, wear masks as they pass a mural of farmworkers
Joe Hernandez and his daughter, Brandy Hernandez, 2, and Helen Silbas wear masks while walking past a mural in the Downtown Santa Ana Historic District on Wednesday. A new overnight stay-at-home order issued by Gov. Gavin Newsom Thursday goes into effect Saturday.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Battling a dangerous surge in coronavirus cases, California public health officials on Thursday imposed a limited stay-at-home order they hope will help slow the spread.

The order covers roughly 94% of Californians — 37 million people — who live in counties that are in the purple tier, the most restrictive in the state’s reopening plan. In purple tier counties, the restrictions have forced many businesses to suspend or severely restrict the number of customers allowed indoors.

The order prohibits most nonessential activity outside the home from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. in counties in the strictest tier of the state’s reopening road map. It begins Saturday.


Here are the key provisions:

  • Prohibits most nonessential activity outside the home from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m in purple tier counties.
  • Goes into effect Saturday and lasts through Dec. 21, though it could be extended.
  • Does not apply to people experiencing homelessness. Nothing in the order prevents any number of people from the same household from leaving their residence, lodging, or temporary accommodation, as long as they do not engage in any interaction with (or otherwise gather with) any number of people from any other household, except as specifically permitted by the order.

Source: State of California

Public health officials say if L.A. County’s numbers remain high, a new stay-at-home order could be implemented next week.

Los Angeles County is facing its own dangerous COVID-19 spike, and officials said that if it continues more dramatic actions will be needed:

  • Starting Friday, the county will begin ordering restaurants and nonessential stores to close at 10 p.m. and place a cap on the number of people allowed at outdoor gatherings — a maximum of 15 people from no more than three households.
  • If L.A. County reaches 4,000 average cases daily over a five-day period, officials would stop outdoor dining at restaurants, returning eateries to offering only delivery and takeout service for the first time since May.
  • If new cases and hospitalization worsen still further, the county would impose a new stay-at-home order that would only allow essential workers and people securing essential services to leave their homes, and implement a 10 p.m.-to-6 a.m. curfew that only exempts essential workers.