Governor Pulls 'Emergency Brake' on California

Gavin Newsom brings reopening to a screeching halt in many counties
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 17, 2020 3:50 AM CST
Updated Nov 17, 2020 6:45 AM CST
Governor Pulls California's 'Emergency Brake'
In this June 30, 2020, file photo, California Gov. Gavin Newsom removes his face mask before giving an update during a visit to Pittsburg, Calif.   (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, Pool, File)

Cailfornia on Monday became the latest state to reimpose sweeping restrictions amid a resurgence of the coronavirus. Gov. Gavin Newsom pulled what officials called the state's "emergency brake," mandating that 41 of the state's 58 counties would be placed in California's strictest "purple" tier for reopening guidelines starting Tuesday. That's more than triple the 13 counties that were in the purple tier last week, and the affected counties account for 94% of the state's population, the Los Angeles Times reports. What it means: many businesses will need to once again roll back their indoor operations, after what the AP terms "months of ever-changing rules." Specifically, churches, restaurants, and gyms must halt indoor operations, while retail establishments can remain open at 25% capacity. Newsom is also strengthening mask requirements and considering a curfew.

"We are seeing community spread broadly now throughout the state of California," he said. "This is simply the fastest increase California has seen since the beginning of this pandemic," and hospitals could soon be overwhelmed. The news rankled many, and at least one county is threatening not to enforce the rules while at least one state lawmaker is urging residents in his area not to follow them. "The governor and state bureaucrats can color code counties and change rules as they go, but the basics remain the same: We are all free people who can exercise our freedom responsibly,” James Gallagher said in a statement. “I don’t think you should close your business, church or school. I would encourage you to keep them open.” Making the new mandates particularly hard to take for some was the fact that Newsom himself was recently caught dining (outdoors) with at least 12 people from multiple households, an error in judgment for which he apologized Monday. (More coronavirus stories.)

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