Newsom says state is looking at curfew possibility

SACRAMENTO — San Luis Obispo County was one of many California counties sent backward Monday in the state’s reopening plan. SLO, along with several other counties, were moved from the Red Tier to the most-restrictive Purple Tier in the Blueprint for a Safer Economy.

On Monday, Nov. 16, Gov. Gavin Newsom said he was pulling the “emergency brake” when he announced that nearly all of the state’s counties were being moved into the Purple Tier. Before Monday, there were 13 states in the Purple Tier. Now, 41 of the state’s 58 counties are in the most restrictive tier.

In addition to the county restrictions, the state plans to impose new restrictions on businesses. Newsom also alluded to a “strengthening” of the statewide mask mandate.

Newsom said the state was reviewing studies from France, Germany and Saudi Arabia on the “efficacy of their strategies as it relates to curfews.” He cited Massachusetts and Virginia as examples of what California’s could resemble.

Newsom said the curfew restrictions would likely impact “certain kinds of industry and business activities.”

The Purple Tier indicates that COVID-19 is “widespread” throughout the county. California places each of its 58 counties into one of four color-coded tiers to try to control COVID-19 spread. Newsom said businesses would only have 24 hours instead of 72 hours to comply with the new restrictions.

In the Purple Tier, restaurants, houses of worship, winery tasting rooms and fitness centers will be able to operate only outdoors. Retail stores will be limited to 25% capacity, among other restrictions.

Schools that are open to in-person learning will be able to continue that way. But no additional schools can open to having students in classrooms. Barbershops and hair salons can still operate indoors, with restrictions.

Last week 11 counties moved back a tier after COVID-19 cases surged and more were trending to do the same this week, including SLO County.

On Monday, San Luis Obispo County Public Health officials reported 212 new COVID-19 cases in the past three days — 118 on Saturday, Nov. 14, 54 on Sunday, Nov. 15, and 40 on Monday, Nov. 16 — bringing the county’s overall total to 5,240 with 4,563 having recovered.

The majority of SLO County’s new cases were in Paso Robles, the city of SLO and residents living on campus at Cal Poly. Forty-five new cases were reported in Paso Robles over the past three days, 53 in SLO and 26 were Cal Poly campus residents.

SLO County reported its 34th COVID-19 death on Saturday. The person was in their 70s and vulnerable to serious illness because of underlying conditions, Public Health reported on its Twitter page.

While some hospitals in the state are being overrun with COVID-19 cases, SLO County is not severely impacted, with only six currently hospitalized, including two in intensive care.

North County communities had 80 new COVID-19 cases over the past three days — 44 on Saturday, 13 on Sunday and 23 on Monday.

Since Nov. 1, SLO County has reported 908 new COVID-19 cases.

Newsom said that the number of COVID-19 cases in California has doubled in the past week, with 10,968 new cases on Monday. He said that is the fastest rate of rise the state has seen during the pandemic. California surpassed 1 million total COVID-19 cases on Thursday.

Newsom said that there had been a 48% increase in hospital beds occupied by coronavirus patients in the past two weeks alone. The number of ICU patients with COVID-19 has risen 38% over the same period.

Newsom also apologized for attending a birthday party in Napa last a violation of state COVID-19 guidelines.