Last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) dictated from on high that if Intensive Care Unit (ICU) capacity in any of California’s five regions falls below 15 percent, he would shut down indoor church services, travel, playgrounds, movie theaters, wineries, and more, for at least three weeks. As of Wednesday, his restrictive orders apply to three-fifths of California. Each of these regions cannot exit lockdown until days after Christmas.
The stay-at-home order essentially cancels Christmas, or at least, it cancels Christmas gatherings involving people from more than one household.
“All gatherings with members of other households are prohibited in the Region except as expressly permitted herein,” the order states. “Nothing in this Order prevents any number of persons 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 persons from any other household, except as specifically permitted herein.”
What exceptions does the order make? Individuals can leave their homes to maintain “critical infrastructure,” to worship or engage in political expression outdoors, to go to school, or to go to work in “essential” professions. The order does not allow for any in-person indoor Christmas services or any in-person Christmas gatherings for people from more than one household.
The strict lockdown went into effect just before midnight on Sunday for two regions: Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley. These regions cannot lift the lockdown until December 28. The Greater Sacramento region will enter lockdown just before midnight on Thursday, and the restrictions will continue until at least December 31.
Newsom issued an update on Wednesday, noting that ICU capacity is below the crucial 15 percent in those three regions.
ICU capacity by region:
• Bay Area: 20.9%
• Greater Sacramento Region: 14.3%
• Northern California: 27.1%
• San Joaquin Valley: 4.2%
• Southern California: 9.0%
For more information: https://t.co/xtXFwVeWc2
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) December 9, 2020
Newsom, who infamously attended an indoor dinner party on November 6 at the upscale restaurant The French Laundry with lobbyists and California Medical Association executives without a mask in sight, took the opportunity to reassure Californians last week. “I’m clear-eyed that this is hard on all of us — especially our small businesses who are struggling to get by. That’s why we leaned in to help our small business owners with new grants and tax relief to help us get through this month,” he said.
Under the order, “all operations in the following sectors must be closed:”
- Indoor and Outdoor Playgrounds
- Indoor Recreational Facilities
- Hair Salons and Barbershops
- Personal Care Services
- Museums, Zoos, and Aquariums
- Movie Theaters
- Bars, Breweries and Distilleries
- Family Entertainment Centers
- Cardrooms and Satellite Wagering
- Limited Services
- Live Audience Sports
- Amusement Parks
Some establishments will be allowed to remain open with additional modifications, “100 percent masking,” and physical distancing.” Outdoor recreation cannot allow any food, drink, or alcohol sales, and overnight stays at campgrounds will be banned. Retail stores may open at 20 percent capacity with no eating or drinking and special hours for seniors and those with weak immune systems. Restaurants may only allow pick-up or take-out. Offices must be remote except in rare cases. Places of worship may “allow outdoor services only.”
Hotels and lodging may remain open “for critical infrastructure support only.” In fact, the order states that “no hotel or lodging entity in California shall accept or honor out of state reservations for non-essential travel, unless the reservation is for at least the minimum time period required for quarantine and the persons identified in the reservation will quarantine in the hotel or lodging entity until after that time period has expired” (emphasis added).
Only a few aspects of life may continue, but with “100 percent masking and physical distancing,” such as “critical infrastructure,” non-urgent medical and dental care, and child care. Guidance on schools would not change.
The lockdown would end when the California Department of Public Health’s “four-week projections of the Region’s total available adult ICU bed capacity is greater than or equal to 15%.” The department will update projections twice a week.
Lockdown measures like this come with scores of unintended consequences, including increased depression, suicide, and various forms of lashing out. Especially given Newsom’s recent maskless indoor dinner at a swanky restaurant and the many double standards politicians like Newsom have employed when it comes to COVID-19 lockdowns, it seems likely hundreds of thousands — if not millions — of Californians will simply refuse to abide by the order, especially with Christmas around the corner.
As PJ Media’s Victoria Taft reported, some sheriffs are refusing to enforce the order.
Even if the lockdown were excellent public policy, it would provoke some measure of resistance given Newsom’s hypocrisy.
For those Californians unlucky enough not to merit an invitation to the next dinner at The French Laundry, Newsom included this comforting line: “Californians are also encouraged to keep connected with loved ones virtually.”
I’ll translate: “Merry Christmas! Yours truly, The Grinch.”
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.