LOS ANGELES (NewsNation Now) — Parts of California will be under stay-at-home orders by Sunday night as the COVID-19 pandemic strains hospitals across the country’s most populous state.
Designed to kick in when intensive care units in any of five regions have little remaining capacity, the order affecting Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley will close bars, hair salons and barbershops, and allows restaurants to remain open only for takeout and delivery service.
The shutdowns, which go into effect at 11:59 pm Sunday, are triggered by an order announced Thursday by Governor Gavin Newsom. It is the most restrictive order since he imposed the country’s first statewide stay-at-home rule in March.
The San Francisco Bay Area will also go into lockdown on Sunday night, under a different set of orders announced Friday by officials there.
“We know that people are tired of the stringent measures, but they are the only weapons we have to combat the virus,” said Dr. Maggie Park, public health officer in San Joaquin County, in the state’s hard-hit farming region.
On Saturday, the state reported a record high of 27,634 new daily coronavirus cases according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Overall the state has recorded more than 1.34 million confirmed coronavirus cases and over 19,000 deaths.
California’s statewide orders, which kick in whenever a region has less than 15% capacity available in its intensive care units, allow critical infrastructure to stay open, including schools that have obtained waivers allowing them to hold in-person classes. Dental offices will also remain open.
As of Friday night, the 11-county Southern California region had only 13.1% of its ICU beds available, the California Department of Public Health reported. The figure was 14.1% for the San Joaquin Valley region, composed of a dozen counties in the agricultural Central Valley and rural areas of the Sierra Nevada.
The other three regions — Greater Sacramento, Northern California, and San Francisco Bay Area — were all around 21%.
But health officers in five of the Bay Area’s 11 counties didn’t wait. On Friday, they adopted the state’s stay-at-home order. The changes begin to take effect Sunday night in San Francisco, Santa Clara, Marin, Alameda and Contra Costa counties, as well as the city of Berkeley.
The orders have been criticized by some Republican politicians who say closing small businesses and ordering people to stay mostly at home will do more harm than good.
Critics also decry decisions by several Democratic politicians, including Newsom and San Francisco Mayor London Breed, to dine in an expensive Napa Valley restaurant that was legally open but at a time when the virus was surging and officials were urging people not to socialize over the Thanksgiving holiday.
“Government lockdowns do not reduce cases or stop spikes,” Republican State Assemblyman James Gallagher, who represents a district north of Sacramento that is not yet affected by the shutdown, said in a press release after Newsom announced the regional plans.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.