Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state is “pulling an emergency brake” and moving more than two dozen counties to the most restrictive tier of coronavirus restrictions to curb the virus’ accelerating spread, numerous sources reported.
Typically announced on Tuesdays, Newsom said the policy of announcing tier assignments was changed to accommodate for the urgent nature of the virus’ spread, according to LAist. Some counties were pushed back one tier, while others were pushed back two.
“California is experiencing the fastest increase in cases we have seen yet — faster than what we experienced at the outset of the pandemic or even this summer,” Newsom said, according to NBC Bay Area. “The spread of COVID-19, if left unchecked, could quickly overwhelm our health care system and lead to catastrophic outcomes.”
NEW: Governor Newsom announces CA is pulling an “emergency brake”, meaning counties will move back after 1 week, not just 2 weeks, some counties will move multiple tiers, and California is going to assess the color coded tiers again later this week. @FOXLA pic.twitter.com/6V8hEEwulT
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) November 16, 2020
Many counties were moved into the purple tier, which is the most severe and indicates 7 daily new cases per 100,000 residents or higher than 8% positivity rate, according to ABC 7. Several counties in northern California, including Alameda in the San Francisco Bay Area, were moved from orange to purple. Orange indicates moderate spread, or 1 to 3.9 daily new cases per 100,000 and a lower testing positivity rate of 2 to 4.9%.
The purple phase puts restrictions on gyms, houses of worship and restaurants, which must operate outdoors only. Bars and schools must close.
In total, 41 counties are in the purple tier. Thirteen counties were in the purple tier a week prior, according to NBC.
Breaking: @GavinNewsom will announce immediate rollback of COVID-19 rules for 28 counties to most restrictive “purple” tier due to increase in cases. Takes effect Tuesday. 9 more counties being rolled back to “red” tier.
— John Myers (@johnmyers) November 16, 2020
According to officials, coronavirus cases doubled in the last 10 days in California. In Los Angeles County, among the state’s most populous, a record number of cases were reached this weekend, according to Desert Sun. The state had 9,890 cases and 10 deaths Monday.
The restrictions come roughly a week before Thanksgiving, and Newsom said he anticipates more restrictions to be announced Friday. The state has reportedly blamed restless residents for causing the virus to spread by flouting social distancing guidelines, the Desert Sun reported.
Despite the state’s gathering warning, Newsom reportedly attended a dinner party at The French Laundry, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Napa, alongside an estimated dozen other people from multiple households. (RELATED: California Gov. Gavin Newsom Reportedly Attends Dinner Party That Went Against California’s Coronavirus Advice)
He later apologized after the story was made public, saying that his family followed the restaurant’s health protocols but “we should have modeled better behavior and not joined the dinner.”