California Governor Expands "Safer at Home" Directive Statewide: "We Will Meet This Moment Together"

Gavin Newsom - news conference at the California justice department on September 18, 2019 - Getty 2 - H 2020
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Immediately following Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti's emergency order, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued statewide guidelines in a press conference later on Thursday.

Following Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti's "Safer at Home" directive, issued to all L.A. residents on Thursday in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a statewide instruction in a press conference later in the evening. 

The "Safer at Home" guidelines, ordering individuals to remain in their residence and limit all nonessential movement, apply to everyone in the state of California and will be in place until further notice. During this time, essential services such as pharmacies, gas stations, grocery stores, banks and laundromats will remain open. 

"This is a moment where we need some straight talk, and we need to tell people the truth," said Newsom, noting that people all across the U.S. are now being required to "adjust our thinking and our activities" as a result of the new guidelines that severely limit movement.

Referencing the recent Bay Area shelter-in-place order and the "Safer at Home" order from Thursday, the governor underlined, “At the end of the day, we’re one body.” Noting that the directive to all Californians goes into force and effect this evening, Newsom said, "We are confident that the people in the state of California will step up and meet this moment to protect themselves and their families."

He went on to say, "There’s a social contract here. People will self-regulate their behavior, will adjust and adapt as they have been doing." Newsom advised people to "go about the essential patterns of life."

Estimating that 30 percent — and as high as 70 percent — of Californians may contract the virus, he explained that the state is well-versed in pandemic preparation. The governor shared the figure that there are currently 416 hospitals in the state of California, while there is also the capacity to provide care beyond our hospital system. 

In the coming days and weeks, Newsom will be working with leaders of public university systems to "identify appropriate dormitories to help with the surge of patients." The state of California is also looking at mobile medical units and field operations.

Striking a personal note, the governor said that he appreciates the anxiety of difficult conversations that family members must have with eachother, but they must be had. Newsom said that he has had difficult conversations with his daughter about the fact that she may not see a classroom until the end of the year.

Closing the press conference, Newsom again encouraged everyone to “meet the moment.” He advised, "Let’s bend the curve together. Let’s not dream of regretting." And finally, the governor emphasized, "This is not a permanent state. This is a moment in time, and we will meet this moment together."

According to the Los Angeles Times, there are currently 1,001 confirmed coronavirus cases in California, resulting in 19 deaths. Since tests became more widely available this month, new cases have been confirmed every day. 

More information about California's response to the coronavirus outbreak can be found here.