State Issues Statewide Travel Ban, Regional Stay-at-Home Order Tied to ICU Capacity

On Thursday, the State of California announced a regional stay-at-home order in light of alarming rises in COVID-19 case rates and hospitalizations throughout the state. The order, issued by Acting State Public Health Officer Dr. Erica Pan, requires additional sector restrictions in a region when intensive care unit (ICU) capacity among hospitals in that region drops below 15 percent.

The public health order takes effect at 12:59 pm on December 15. After taking effect, if a region falls below the 15 percent ICU availability threshold, jurisdictions will have 24 hours to implement the stay-at-home order. The five regions consist of:

  • Northern California: Del Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Shasta, Siskiyou, Tehama, and Trinity
  • Bay Area: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, and Sonoma
  • Greater Sacramento: Alpine, Amador, Butte, Colusa, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Sierra, Sutter, Yolo, and Yuba
  • San Joaquin Valley: Calaveras, Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, San Benito, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tulare, and Tuolumne
  • Southern California: Imperial, Inyo, Los Angeles, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura

Once triggered, regions will remain in the stay-at-home order for at least three weeks. Counties will then be eligible to exit the regional stay-at-home order after three weeks if their hospital ICU capacity projection four weeks out reaches at least 15 percent. Counties will then return to the Blueprint for a Safer Economy tier determined by their case rate and test positivity after becoming eligible to exit the regional stay-at-home order.

Under the regional order, residents are instructed to stay at home as much as possible to limit mixing with other households that can lead to COVID-19 transmission. The following sectors must be closed under the order when triggered:

  • Indoor and Outdoor Playgrounds
  • Indoor Recreational Facilities
  • Hair Salons and Barbershops
  • Personal Care Services
  • Museums, Zoos, and Aquariums
  • Movie Theaters
  • Wineries
  • Bars, Breweries, and Distilleries
  • Family Entertainment Centers
  • Cardrooms and Satellite Wagering
  • Limited Services
  • Live Audience Sports
  • Amusement Parks

Other sectors must make additional modifications under the order in addition to mandatory face coverings and physical distancing:

  • Outdoor Recreational Facilities: Allow outdoor operations only without any food, drink, or alcohol sales; overnight stays at campgrounds are prohibited.
  • Retail and Shopping Centers: Indoor operations at 20 percent capacity with entrance metering and no eating or drinking in stores; special hours should be implemented for seniors and others with chronic conditions or compromised immune systems.
  • Hotels and Lodging: Open for critical infrastructure support only.
  • Restaurants: Allow for takeout or delivery only.
  • Offices: Allow remote except for critical infrastructure sectors where remote work is not possible.
  • Places of Worship: Outdoor services only.
  • Entertainment Production (including Professional Sports): Operation without live audiences; testing protocol and “bubbles” are highly encouraged.

Notably, the order does not modify existing state guidance regarding K-12 schools. Sectors including critical infrastructure, non-urgent medical and dental care, and childcare and pre-kindergarten are allowed to remain open when a remote option is not possible. Appropriate infectious disease preventive measures and mandatory face coverings and physical distancing will be required.

As part of Thursday’s announcement, the state additionally indicated all non-essential travel is temporarily restricted statewide. Under this guidance, 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 to quarantine and the persons identified in the reservation will quarantine in the hotel or lodging entity until after that time period has expired. Additional information relative to quarantining procedures is expected to be forthcoming from the state.

Today, six Bay Area jurisdictions announced the issuance of a regional stay-at-home order, effective on Sunday, December 6 at 10:00 pm. The Bay Area order takes action ahead of the state’s mandated regional stay-at-home order that is tied to ICU capacity. Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, and Santa Clara counties, as well as the City of Berkeley, issued the order, which is expected to be in effect until Monday, January 4, 2021.

The full regional stay-at-home order is available here. An announcement from the Governor’s Office is available here.