California’s shelter-in-place order, explained

In Summary

Less than a week into Gov. Gavin Newsom's stay-at-home directive, not all Californians have been playing by the rules, forcing more restrictions. Watch this video to learn what the rules mean. 

As President Donald Trump considers easing national restrictions by Easter, Californians are into their first week of an official shelter-in-place directive to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered Californians to stay home except for essential services, leading many to wonder: What’s essential?

That’s a long list. And some counties have tighter rules. This video explains what the shelter-in-place order means for Californians, why it could slow the spread of infection and what powers Newsom has to force Californians to stay home.

“There’s a social contract here,” Newsom said. “People will self-regulate their behavior; they’ll begin to adjust and adapt as they have been quite significantly.”

But while some Californians have played by the rules, others have ignored them, forcing even more restrictions. Photos of packed state beaches last weekend spurred the closure of parking lots at all state beaches and parks. Campgrounds were already closed.

Get the latest on coronavirus in California with our frequently asked questions, dashboard tracking the numbers and our latest updates.

Latest in Video

Oakland Technical High School students stand in front of the marquee after it was announced that all Oakland schools would close for three weeks over coronavirus concerns on March 13, 2020. Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters


Schools shut down in massive numbers across California amid coronavirus fears



Facing pandemic, California takes cover, from the Capitol to Disneyland

Maria Castellanos, 75, cares for her grandson Valentino, 5, while he is out of school. Elk Grove Unified closed all district schools until March 13 after a student tested positive for COVID-19. Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters


Quarantine grandma? California families scramble as coronavirus hits

CalMatters reporter explains California's response to the coronavirus.


How California is responding to the coronavirus


The new Proposition 13: A $15 billion bond for school facilities


It’s Super Tuesday: Your guide to the California Primary