In the days since Los Angeles issued an emergency order to shut down restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and pretty much anything involving social interaction or fun, the city I’ve grown to know and love since moving here in 2014 is completely unrecognizable.
Once a bustling metropolis, it’s now riddled with abandoned vehicles and barren grocery stores. Beaches are empty, our soul-crushing traffic is nonexistent, and while we fight to preserve our sanity in solitude, the rest of the world forgets that we’re still grieving the loss of our adopted son, Kobe Bryant.
But with the coronavirus presenting an unprecedented threat and California providing the ideal conditions to accelerate a pandemic of this magnitude, shit just got really real. The Los Angeles Times reports that Gov. Gavin Newsom has imposed mandatory statewide restrictions to curtail the outbreak:
Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday ordered Californians to stay at home, marking the first mandatory restrictions placed on the lives of all 40 million residents in the state’s fight against the novel coronavirus.
The governor’s action comes at a critical time in California, where 19 people have died and at least 1,000 have tested positive for the disease, and it appeared to be the most far-reaching directive of any issued by states battling the epidemic.
While Californians can still collect necessities from gas stations, pharmacies, grocery stores, farmers’ markets, banks and other essential locations, pretty much everything else is off-limits.
“A state as large as ours, a nation-state, is many parts, but at the end of the day, we’re one body. There’s a mutuality, there’s a recognition of our interdependence that requires of this moment that we direct a statewide order for people to stay at home,” Newsom said on Thursday. “That directive goes into force and effect this evening and we are confident that the people of the state of California will abide by it, will do the right thing.”
For those of us who live in Los Angeles, that mandate is coupled by another from Mayor Eric Garcetti, who ordered all nonessential businesses to close and banned public gatherings of any size outside of homes.
“All businesses, including museums, malls, retail stores, for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations, must stop operations that require workers to be present in person,” Garcetti said.
He continued, “We are all safer at home. Staying in our residences, being aggressive about hygiene, and practicing safe social distancing are the most effective ways to protect ourselves, the people we love, and everyone in our community. Each one of us is a first-responder in this crisis, and Angelenos understand that we have to make big sacrifices right now to save lives. This isn’t forever—and we’ll get through it together.”
Los Angeles’ “Safer at Home” emergency order will remain in place until April 19 and is subject to extension, while California’s statewide mandate is indefinite, with violators subject to a misdemeanor.
Please wash your damn hands, stay your asses home, and be safe out there, y’all.