SACRAMENTO (CBS13/AP) – California Gov. Gavin Newsom said he’s pulling the state’s “emergency brake” as coronavirus cases surge in the state.
The move means that the vast majority of counties are being moved into the most-restrictive “purple” coronavirus alert tier. Just 13 counties were in the purple tier last week, but Monday’s action meant 41 counties were now in the most-restrictive status.
“We are now moving backwards, not forwards,” Newsom said in his Monday press conference.
The measures that Newsom said were the “emergency brake in the Blueprint for a Safer Economy” will impose more restrictions on businesses across most of the state.
Counties moving back into the purple tier include El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, San Joaquin, Solano, Sutter, Tuolumne, Yolo and Yuba. Some of the counties, such as El Dorado, had progressed to the “orange” or moderate tier of reopening but are now back in the most restrictive tier.
The troubling rise in cases in November has come at a faster pace than a spike in mid-June and could quickly surpass the peak of the hospitalizations at the time, health officials said. The state became the second in the U.S. last week to surpass 1 million case of the virus.
“California is experiencing the fastest increase in cases we have seen yet – faster than what we experienced at the outset of the pandemic or even this summer. The spread of COVID-19, if left unchecked, could quickly overwhelm our health care system and lead to catastrophic outcomes,” Newsom said in a statement.
The new rules are certain to rankle business owners such as restaurateurs and gym owners who have been struggling to get back on their feet after lengthy shutdowns followed by reopenings that have at times been curtailed as cases have risen.
The state has blamed the spike in cases mainly on people who have grown fatigued coping with the virus and have ignored public health warnings to not socialize with friends and family members. Those warnings have been more forceful in advance of Thanksgiving next week.
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Businesses have complained that they have played by the rules yet had to pay the price for residents who didn’t do so.
Newsom himself has faced blowback after failing to follow his own rules by attending a friend’s birthday party at the opulent French Laundry restaurant in wine country north of San Francisco.
Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.