The ICU capacity for the 11-county Bay Area region fell to 12.9% on Wednesday, triggering the mandatory stay-at-home order that forces restaurants to close indoor and outdoor dining rooms, tells retails stores to cut the number of shoppers allowed inside and places other restrictions on gatherings.
Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, San Francisco, and Santa Clara counties had already opted to voluntarily impose these restrictions even before the region's intensive care units fell below the 15% threshold. But the changes are now also mandatory in Napa, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Solano, and Sonoma counties.
As outlined by the state, the stay-at-home order will remain in effect for at least three weeks. After that period, the order will be lifted when a region’s projected ICU capacity meets or exceeds 15%. That will be assessed on a weekly basis after the initial three week period.
Non-essential businesses must close, restaurants may only do take-out or deliveries, retailers are now restricted to 20% of their indoor capacity and socializing beyond you own household is prohibited.
It's another tough turn for many businesses, who have no choice but to close. "Your heart goes out to them, but right now, we're in life saving mode. and vaccine is on the way and the actions we take today will save us," said Supervisor Canepa.
"As long as everybody keeps their distance in the shop and four customers at a time I feel OK about it," said Atlas Skateboard Co-Owner Mike Manibis. "I'm not saying it's fool proof but just follow the rules. It's like, what's the big deal? That's just how I feel," said skakeboard customer Julian Nieh.
Leading health officials have warned that the darkest days of the pandemic are still ahead.
Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said during a board of supervisors meeting on Tuesday, "Our pandemic locally is out of control and our health care system is quite stretched, not at the breaking point, but marching steadily towards that point.” She continued, "We are truly, truly in the worst place we have ever been in this pandemic, by a very large margin.”
The death rate is also increasing statewide and nationwide.
"300,000 people, and people won't wear a damn mask, they won't socially distance, they won't wash their hands, and they won't stay at home," said San Mateo County Supervisor Dave Canepa. "What's certainly driving this is the social gatherings; something that we cannot regulate," said San Mateo County Manager Mike Callagy.
Yet, another major hurdle is coming.
"We're very, very concerned about Christmas gatherings. We are extremely concerned that we'll see a surge in the middle of a surge," said County Manager Callagy.
So now, only three of California's 58 counties: Plumas, Alpine and Mariposa remain in less restricted tiers. All the rest: purple, 99.9% of the population in the state.
Fight for the Future also called House and Senate leaders to “remove the copyright provisions from the Continuing Resolution and move them through regular order so we can have transparent and open debate about the right balance” and urged lawmakers to “create a fair system that protects human rights and ensures artists are fairly compensated instead of ramming through poorly crafted legislation that could punish ordinary Internet users for engaging in everyday activities like sharing memes and downloading images online.”“This is atrocious. We’re facing a massive eviction crisis and millions are unemployed due to the pandemic, but Congressional leaders could only muster $600 stimulus checks for COVID relief, but managed to cram in handouts for content companies like Disney? The CASE Act is a terribly written law that will threaten ordinary Internet users with huge fines for everyday online activity. It’s absurd that lawmakers included these provisions in a must-pass spending bill.”
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