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Stay-at-Home Order Lifted


Last updated 2/4/2021 at 11:39am

Governor Gavin Newsom lifted the seven-week regional stay-at-home order on Jan. 25, citing the improvement of conditions with the state seeing a steady decrease in cases, as well as a reduction in hospitalizations and intensive care unit use. Projections showed that the Southern California four-week intensive care unit bed availability to be above the 15% threshold it had previously established.

The order allows businesses to resume operations immediately like restaurants, museums, theaters and other businesses. Hair salons, barbershops, nail salons and tattoo parlors can resume indoors. Hotels and other lodging can open.

Many rejoiced in celebration, while many expressed deep anger with the decision. The mixed reactions to lifting the order, as many worried it is too early and could lead to even more cases. With the new variants being discovered, it is still uncertain what this could all mean.

Governor Newsom stated, “We’re seeing a flattening of the curve – everything that should be up is up, everything that should be down is down – case rates, positivity rates, hospitalizations, ICUs.”

CDPH said it released the rest of the state from stay-at-home orders based on a determination there will be at least 15 percent ICU capacity within four weeks. The state has not fully explained how it calculates that projection. Governor Newsom said that in four weeks’ time, the entire state will have twice that capacity at 30.3 percent.

The state hasn’t made public the exact formula to determine its ICU projections, and the Sacramento, San Joaquin Valley and Southern California regions remain below the 15 percent capacity threshold.

California has over 3.32 million confirmed cases and 40,928 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

With the lifting of the orders, the state returned to the color-coded, county-by-county system of restrictions. All but four of California’s 58 counties remain in the state’s most restrictive purple tier status and are expected to remain there for weeks.

San Diego County returned to Tier 1 (purple), the most restrictive tier due to the out-of-compliance case rate and positive test percentage. Tier updates are provided weekly on Tuesdays; however, counties can choose to impose stricter rules.

The stay-at-home order was in effect since Nov. 21, lasting until Dec. 21 for all counties in Tier 1 (purple) of the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy, which affected 41 of the state’s 58 counties, causing a reverse in a positive course.

Amid the rise in cases and the availability of intensive care unit beds falling to a serious low, Governor Newsom prompted the lockdown. Shortly after this announcement, the 10-county Southern California Region fell below 15% ICU bed availability, and was included into the lockdown.

The Southern California Region included San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Imperial, Inyo, Mono, Orange, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura.

At no surprise, the order was extended on Dec. 29 after the availability of ICU beds, remained 0.0%, well below the 15% capacity intended to have for it to be lifted.

Many hope that with the rollout of the vaccine that things can return to somewhat normal. However, with the rollout, comes slight hiccups – from not enough doses to the quick fill up of appointments, and as the cases continue to rise, it is still uncertain of what the next few months can bring.

It will be interesting to see what comes next, and how long businesses can remain open with the hopes of more restrictions being eased.

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