Pasadena businesses, along with others around the state, could face new restrictions due to rule changes being considered by Gov. Gavin Newsom as cases of the coronavirus spike.
The new restrictions could come in the form of a “business curfew” that would restrict hours of operation on local businesses in hopes of limiting public intermingling.
“We are assessing that as well,” Newsom said, saying the state is reviewing studies conducted by authorities in France, Germany and Saudi Arabia about the effectiveness of curfews.
“All of that is being assessed,” Newsom said. “We want to socialize that. We have a lot of questions about what that looks like, what that doesn’t look like, who does it impact, who doesn’t it impact, what does a real curfew mean in terms of certain kinds of industry and business activities. That’s what we’re referring to in this space.”
Los Angeles County is expected to consider a business curfew this week. Pasadena would not be mandated to institute the curfew unless the state adopts an order because the city has its own health department.
Locally restaurants have been closed for indoor dining since March and local students have been distance learning since that time also.
Local schools were making plans to open in January, but county officials have now proclaimed that schools should plan to consider distance learning programs through January.
The governor said more announcements could be made later in the week about additional restrictions, including the business curfew.
Newsom said on Monday the state is hitting an “emergency brake” on economic activity, moving 28 counties back to the most restrictive tier of California’s matrix governing business operations.
The move means 41 of the state’s 58 counties are now in the restrictive “purple” tier, which severely restricts capacity at retail establishments, closes fitness centers and limits restaurants to limited outdoor-only service. The 41 counties represent 94.1% of the state’s population. Before Monday, only 13 counties were in the “purple” tier.
The re-classifications will officially take effect Tuesday, according to the governor’s office.
Daily cases numbers in the state “have doubled just in the last 10 days. This is simply the fastest increase California has seen since the beginning of this pandemic.”
The biggest increase the state had seen previously was in mid-June, when California had a 39.2% increase in new cases in one week.
At the start of November, the state saw a 51.3% increase in a one-week period, he said.
Newsom called the spike an “increase simply without precedent in California’s pandemic history.”
In his announcement Newsom also announced changes in the way counties will be classified in the state’s four-tier reopening matrix. Previously, counties could only move backward in the roadmap if they failed to meet key metrics — the rates of new cases and positive tests — for two consecutive weeks. Now a county will be moved backward after just one week of elevated numbers.
Counties can also potentially be moved back multiple tiers in the matrix if the numbers warrant, Newsom said. Under the new guidelines, counties that are moved backward in the tier system must require businesses to meet the accompanying operating restrictions immediately, as opposed to a previous three-day grace period.
“We want to see the application and implementation of this new tiered status occur in a 24-hour period,” he said.
The state previously updated counties’ placement in the matrix once a week — every Tuesday — but now counties can be moved at any time based on the numbers, the governor said.
The spike in cases raises concerns about a possible overwhelming of the hospitals. To help prevent such an impact, the state is prepared to activate 11 surge facilities’ to prevent hospitals from being overrun in particularly hard-hit areas. Those facilities have a total capacity of 1,872 beds.
In April, Pasadena set up the Pasadena Convention Center as a surge facility but closed it down after Huntington Hospital came nowhere near capacity.