WATSONVILLE, Calif. (KION) With the weekend arriving, many people may still be wondering exactly what this new limited stay-at-home order means when it begins Saturday night.
State officials say this order is similar to the one issued in March at the beginning of the pandemic shutdowns. This order does not mean you cannot go outside whatsoever after 10 p.m. You can still make food or grocery store runs or walk your dog; just make sure you do not do it with friends or members of other households.
The farmers market was still drawing a good crowd in Watsonville for a Friday night. While everything closes down long before 10 p.m., starting Saturday, the limited stay at home order for COVID-19 Purple Tier counties in California means all non-essential work, movement and gatherings have to stop between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
"It does mean that I can still go to the grocery store at 11 if that grocery store is still open to pick up milk or eggs or whatever I need," said Dr. Mark Ghaly, the state Health and Human Services secretary. "Yes, I can walk my dog at 11pm if that's your tradition and routine."
Restaurants can even stay open past 10 p.m. to do take out and deliveries.
"We urge people, in a limited way, to use restaurants in that way. And for all you restaurant operators and owners, that's certainly an opportunity to keep some amount of business going," said Dr. Ghaly.
The governor's office says this order is aimed at curbing social activities and gatherings that experts say are behind the surge in cases. Cities like Watsonville and Salinas have already seen problems with these types of parties.
The Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office says they will focus on large gatherings once curfew starts. There is already a countywide noise ordinance that takes effect at 10 p.m.
Both the Monterey County Sheriff's Office and Salinas police say they will take an educational and scouts-honor approach to the curfew, but will enforce if needed.
"You know, it's hard to say whether it'll be effective. Obviously people know about it. I think of curfew.. I think I was 14 when I got a curfew going when I was a kid, you know," said Rob Cole, a Salinas resident.
Watsonville Mayor-elect Jimmy Dutra says the city already has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in Santa Cruz County. He acknowledges while the curfew stops all overnight gatherings, it does not prevent residents from coming together during the day.
"We already have ordinances in place that prohibit gatherings after 10 p.m., so we're going to continue enforcing those ordinances as well as continuing to educate the community as well," said Dutra.
The limited stay at home order will remain in effect until 5 a.m. on December 21. That could be extended or revised depending on how much the curve is flattened, according to state officials.
PREVIOUS ARTICLE: After Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Department of Public Health announced a new, limited Stay at Home order on Thursday, residents on the Central Coast are prepping for what will amount to an overnight curfew starting this weekend.
The governor's office says this new order comes in light of a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases across the state.
The order requires generally that non-essential work, movement and gatherings be suspended between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. in counties under the purple tier. All three counties on the Central Coast would fall under this category.
The order takes effect on Saturday at 10 p.m.
KION's Josh Kristianto will have more tonight at 10 and 11 p.m. and sees whether local officials think the curfew will be effective in combating the pandemic.