March 17 (UPI) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom has expanded the state’s response to the coronavirus, directing all restaurants to shutter their doors and advising residents against gathering.
Newsom announced the new measures Monday via a Facebook live broadcast from the California Office of Emergency Services, stating the new guidelines were issued to “codify” directives throughout the state as several cities and counties have issued similar guidelines if not bans.
He said the state is asking restaurants to close their in-dining services and provide take-out. The move comes a day after he asked bars, night clubs, wineries and breweries to close and restaurants to focus on takeout for those in self-isolation.
Los Angeles also issued a ban Sunday on restaurants, fitness clubs and entertainment venues until March 31.
Earlier Monday, six counties in the Bay Area were ordered to shelter in place, meaning all gatherings are barred, which Newsom said given the situation, “makes sense to me.”
“We think it’s very rational under these circumstances — disruptive, I know, for some, but rational, we believe, in this moment,” he said.
The guideline against public gatherings increases the restrictions on the previous ban he issued last week barring congregations of more than 250 people until at least April.
Gavin also signed an executive order to halt evictions, slow foreclosures and protect against utility shutoffs.
“People shouldn’t lose or be forced out of their home because of the spread of COVID-19,” he said in a statement. “Over the next few weeks, everyone will have to make sacrifices — but a place to live shouldn’t be one of them. I strongly encourage cities and counties take up this authority to protect Californians.”
Residents are obliged to pay their rent, but the measure is to offer those who have been negatively affected by the coronavirus some relief, he said in the broadcast.
The protections will be in place until May 31 unless extended. It also asks banks and other financial institutions to halt foreclosures during the period and the California Public Utilities Commission to monitor public and private utility providers to implement protections for critical services.
The directives came as the state confirmed 57 new cases of COVID-19 and two deaths to the virus in the past 24 hours, lifting its totals to 392 cases and six deaths.