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California's Limited Stay at Home Order 

Questions & Answers

Updates since November 19, 2020:

Why is this order being implemented now?

Cases in California are growing faster than ever, and we are in the midst of a surge in cases and hospitalizations. We need to keep those at highest risk and our essential workers safe. We need to protect our hospital capacity so those who need care can get it. Acting now will help us stop the surge, keep people safe and avoid more severe restrictions.

Who does this order apply to?

The limited stay at home order and its supplement applies to individuals who live in counties currently in the purple tier or under a Regional Stay Home Order. Visit the Blueprint for a Safer Economy web page to find out what tier your county is in or if your county is under Regional Stay at Home.  

What hours are Californians being asked to stay home?

Californians are being asked to stay home between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., with some exceptions. You can go outside on your own or with members of your own household as long as you are not gathering with other households. You can also go out to do essential activities, which are defined on the Essential Workforce web page, or if you are required to go out by law.

When does the order take effect?

The order will take effect at 10 p.m. Saturday, November 21 and remains in effect until such time as the Regional Stay At Home Order has terminated in all Regions in the State of California.

How long will the limited stay at home order remain in effect?

The order will remain in effect for one month but the state may extend or modify it as needed.

How will the limited stay at home order slow the spread of COVID-19?

Limiting risk exposure is critical. Activities conducted during 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. are often non-essential and more likely related to social activities and gatherings that have a higher likelihood of leading to reduced inhibition and reduced likelihood to adhere to COVID-19 preventive measures (e.g., wearing face coverings and maintaining physical distance).

What is considered an essential business?

Essential workforce and critical infrastructure sectors are defined on the Essential Workforce web page.  

Can I commute to work?

Yes, there is no restriction on commuting to work.

What am I allowed to do between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.? Can I pick up a gallon of milk at midnight, pick up a prescription, or put gas in my car?

Yes. Essential activities are permitted as are activities you do alone or with members of your immediate household like walking your dog. Although Californians are highly encouraged to stay indoors from 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., the public health order does not prohibit individuals or members from the same household going outside so long as they don't mix with other households.

Is this order asking businesses to close between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.?

Non-essential businesses, those that are NOT defined as critical infrastructure, should end business operations at 10 p.m. Essential work is permitted to continue, and food and beverage takeout services are still permitted.

Can I still get takeout or food delivery?

Yes, restaurants can stay open for takeout and delivery after 10 p.m. 

Are restaurants that close at 10 p.m. allowed to do routine cleaning beyond that time?

Yes, as long as the restaurant is closed to the public at 10 p.m., employees are allowed to complete routine cleaning after that time. Restaurants can also stay open for takeout and delivery after 10 p.m. 

Have similar orders been put in place in other states?

Multiple other states including Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, and Virginia have introduced orders with a similar intent. Also, several large municipalities have also implemented similar measures including Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, and Miami-Dade.

This is order is also similar to the California's successful Stay at Home Order in March, but more narrowly defined (10 p.m. – 5 a.m. only). Many other states have Stay at Home orders.

How does this new order affect gatherings?

Gatherings of multiple households are a significant contributor to increased transmission of COVID-19. Gatherings of different households for non-essential activities are prohibited between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.

When people mix from different households it poses a higher risk of transmission and spread of COVID-19. The likelihood of transmission and spread increases with laughing, singing, loud talking, and difficulty maintaining physical distance. The latest guidance on gatherings is available on the CDPH Guidance for the Prevention of COVID-19 Transmission for Gatherings web page.

Is there a penalty for violating the limited stay at home order?

Failure to comply with the order may be punishable by fine and as a misdemeanor, revocation of a business license, or court-imposed penalties.

Who will be responsible for enforcing the order?

All Californians are being asked to follow this order to protect themselves, their families, and their communities. The order provides a new tool for local officials & law enforcement personnel to use to protect public health and safety, should they need it.

The State COVID-19 Enforcement Taskforce will continue to work closely with local officials to implement the order and coordinate strategic, targeted enforcement actions with the goal of adjusting behavior, interrupting high-risk actions and defiance of public health orders, and restoring compliance.

Under what authority is this being done?

Several Health and Safety Code provisions (listed in the order itself) authorize the California Department of Public Health to take action necessary to protect public health. In addition, multiple executive orders require compliance with such orders. For example, on March 12, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-25-20, which included as operative paragraph one, "[a]ll residents are to heed any orders and guidance of state and local public health officials, including but not limited to the imposition of social distancing measures, to combat the spread of COVID-19." Further, on March 19, 2020, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-33-20, in which he reiterated his directive that all residents immediately heed state public health directives (which, in that Order, was in the context of the stay at home order).

Where can I get resources or information to help encourage those in my community adhere to this order?

There are a variety of downloadable resources and fact sheets available on the and California Department of Public Health websites.

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