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California Heads Into Lockdown, With Bay Area Going First

The Bay Area is now officially headed into lockdown.

On Friday, health officials from Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Santa Clara and San Francisco counties and the city of Berkeley announced they would start their shutdowns before it was required by the state.

In most of those counties, stay-at-home orders go into effect on Sunday night. By Tuesday, the last orders will be in place. They will last until at least Jan. 4. 


Bay Area officials participating in advancing these restrictions said they worried December would be much worse than expected and didn't want to wait for state restrictions to be triggered.

"The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in our county has doubled in just the past couple of weeks, and we are at risk of exceeding our hospital capacity later this month if current trends continue," Contra Costa County Health Officer Christopher Farnitano said in a statement.

The statewide restrictions ask people to stay home as much as possible and avoid contact with people outside their own household. They allow indoor retail and shopping centers to remain open with a 20% capacity restriction. Hotels and other lodging aren't supposed to accept or honor out-of-state reservations for "nonessential travel" unless they are for quarantine purposes.

Restaurants could do takeout and delivery, but not outdoor dining. However, the restrictions would mean the closures of bars, wineries, personal services, hair salons and barbershops. Businesses that are allowed to operate must require customers to wear masks 100% of the time. 

Across the state, the number of new cases per day has increased by over 112% — from 8,743 to 18,588 — and new hospital admissions for the coronavirus has risen from 777 on Nov. 15 to 1,651 on Dec. 2.

On Thursday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced new statewide restrictions that would be put into effect when a region's intensive care unit capacity drops to less than 15% and last for three weeks.

For the purpose of this order, the state is broken into five regions: Northern California, Bay Area, Greater Sacramento, San Joaquin Valley and Southern California.

Though no region has hit that mark yet, Newsom said that wouldn't be the case for long: State health officials' projections indicate that all regions of the state except the Bay Area will cross this threshold sometime in early December, triggering the lockdown. The Bay Area was expected to pass the threshold in mid to late December.

Related Topics: Gavin Newsom, coronavirus