In response to a state-wide surge in infections, California residents are now under a nighttime curfew and other drastic measures.
Restaurants have been ordered to close indoor dining, and many other venues which have hitherto been viewed as essential components of the California lifestyle are now shuttered.
Over 2020, the golden state has seen some of the most aggressive coronavirus measures in the US. It was the first state to impose a stay-at-home order in March that shut businesses and schools for months.
The nation’s most populous state has surged past 1.3 million cases. The state health department on Sunday announced more than 30,000 new coronavirus cases, the most ever in a single day. Each day brings dire new records in hospitalisations and deaths, which have neared a total of 20,000.
According to National Public Radio (NPR), all California residents are now under strict stay-at-home orders until after Christmas to curb the spread and ease pressure on stressed intensive care units.
Los Angeles resident, Francesca Dunn, 32, told MalaysiaNow that most Angelinos find the boosted restrictions “confusing”.
“You are to stay at home but can still go for walks, exercise, get take away food, go to the grocery store and to shops,” she said. “You can basically still do everything except go to the salon, go to parks, or eat at restaurants – even outdoors.”
The advertising network executive cannot technically visit her mother a few blocks away as the new orders prohibit people from gathering with others outside their immediate household. Nevertheless she is allowed to visit close relatives to take food and medicine and care for them.
Like all of her colleagues, she has not been to the office since the start of the pandemic in March and does not anticipate a return until people start getting vaccinated, maybe in spring 2021.
As Christmas looms, the draconian new restrictions have everybody wondering what’s permissible and what’s not.
And in any case, as NPR puts it, California state has no easy way to enforce these new measures without the help of local police and that’s only an option if law enforcement is on board.
LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva has expressed his reluctance to shut down individual businesses. He said his focus will instead be on curbing “super spreader” events.
These include so-called “Corona parties” – the term playing on the beer brand and the illness – where crowds gather in private homes and party like it was Christmas 2019.