In summary

Gov. Gavin Newsom has imposed another stay-at-home order, the strictest since March. Here’s what we know so far about that.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has imposed new pandemic restrictions with a conditional stay-at-home order to mitigate the effects of another surge in coronavirus cases. The number of confirmed patients in intensive care units in California was 708 on Nov. 1 and has steadily risen since.

“If we don’t act now, we’ll continue to see the death rate climb,” Newsom said in his press conference.

While this is the strictest statewide restriction imposed since March, it’s not as stringent as the initial shelter-in-place order issued at the pandemic’s outset.

What questions do you have about the latest state coronavirus pandemic restrictions? Check out this story to see the kind of reader-submitted query a CalMatters reporter was able to answer earlier in the pandemic. Submit your questions on this form.

What’s different about this order?

This one is regional, as opposed to statewide, and is triggered for the region if ICU bed capacity there dips below 15%.

So what are the regions?

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The regions are Northern California, Bay Area, Greater Sacramento, San Joaquin Valley and Southern California.

If my region hits the threshold and this stay-at-home order gets triggered, what can I do?

You can go out for essential needs like getting groceries, exercise, and going to doctor appointments. Any K-12 schools that have already reopened can remain so. You can go to some retail stores, but they’re being told they can only operate indoors at a fifth of their previous capacity.

What can’t I do?

You can’t go do things that typically involve a large number of other people, especially in an indoor space. For instance, sporting events are out, as are wineries, bars, breweries, movie theaters, and amusement parks — you know, places that could host a coronavirus superspreader. For a more complete list, check here.

How long will the restrictions last?

If your region triggers the order, the restrictions last for three weeks.

Will outdoor exercise classes be allowed to continue?

Yes. While indoor gym services are forbidden during the regional lockdown, outdoor, physically distanced health and wellness facilities can stay in operation, as they are considered part of the essential workforce

Is there a way to look up ICU capacity at local hospitals or within counties/regions online?

Yes, the state has a tracker here. For more ICU hospitalization data, you can check our tracker here

Can I walk my pet or take it to the vet?

Yes, that’s fine.

My wife is accompanying my son to go to college in Southern California in Jan. 2021 for the spring semester and we have booked the hotel one month ago. This is essential for us to make this trip otherwise my son can not start his college curriculum. His mom will be there to assist him for few weeks. Is this deemed decent for travelers in this restriction?

Work and study are considered essential travel purposes, so this trip would be allowed under state rules.

How were the regional boundaries determined? 

They are based on mutual aid networks between California’s health systems.

How does order impact incoming travel? We are expecting family to arrive via air travel from out of state. Will their travel be restricted? Quarantine requirements?

In a region subject to the stay at home order, hotels and others offering lodging “cannot accept or honor out-of-state reservations for non-essential travel” unless the reservations are for long enough to quarantine — 14 days — according to the state health department. 

What if two from a household that is under the restriction want to visit their family in another region of CA that is NOT in restriction?

The stay at home order asks Californians not to travel outside their county, and especially not drive more than two to three hours. In general, the stay at home order asks that everyone stay at home.

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Richard Procter

Richard Procter is the assistant editor at CalMatters, leading coverage of housing, education and technology. Prior to joining CalMatters, he was the editor-in-chief of SF Weekly and the special projects...