California asks all dine-in restaurants, gyms, and movie theaters to close to curb the coronavirus' spread

insider@insider.com (Rosie Perper)
Gov. Gavin Newsom of California in Sacramento on March 4.

Rich Pedroncelli/AP

  • Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday announced a new directive to gyms, health clubs, and restaurants in California to close down "for the moment" as the state battles the coronavirus' spread.
  • He added that the directive asked restaurants to temporarily shut their doors or provide takeout options "if they wish."
  • Newsom also said the state encouraged local bans on gatherings of any size, saying the limitation "just makes sense to me at this point."
  • Several California cities, including Los Angeles and San Francisco, are taking enhanced measures to decrease social gatherings in a bid to halt the spread of airborne illness.
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Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday announced a new directive to gyms, health clubs, movie theaters, and restaurants in California to close down "for the moment," as the state battles the coronavirus' spread.

As of Monday evening, the US had reported more than 4,700 cases of the novel coronavirus, which causes a disease called COVID-19. Ninety-one people have died from the disease in the US, including 11 in California.

Newsom said in a video statement that state government would "strengthen our focus on restaurants" and would be asking restaurants to temporarily shut their doors or provide takeout options "if they wish."

California is the most populated US state, with about 39 million residents.

Several California cities, including San Francisco and Los Angeles, have put in place strict measures to prevent large social gatherings as part of social distancing meant to slow the spread of airborne infections. The term refers to broad measures meant to keep people away from one another, including canceling sporting events, closing schools, having employees work from home, and maintaining distance from sick people.

San Francisco banned gatherings of 100 or more people and also ordered the people to "shelter in place" until April 7.

Several other US cities and states, including New York City, ordered the shutdown of bars, canceled holiday festivities, and directed restaurants to serve food for takeout or delivery only.

Newsom also said the state encouraged local bans on gatherings of any size, saying the limitation "just makes sense to me at this point."

"The point of gatherings is lost on all of us from a public safety and health perspective," Newsom said. "So directing that no gatherings [take place] is considered advanced in this state ... We believe it is rational at this moment."

The new measures follow an executive order issued by Newsom authorizing local governments to halt evictions for renters and homeowners, slowing foreclosures, and protecting people affected by coronavirus against utility shutoffs.

"People shouldn't lose or be forced out of their home because of the spread of COVID-19," Newsom said. "Over the next few weeks, everyone will have to make sacrifices, but a place to live shouldn't be one of them. I strongly encourage cities and counties take up this authority to protect Californians."

The order does not relieve a tenant from the obligation to pay rent and will be in effect through May 31.

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