Shutdown backlash: San Diego mayor slams Governor Newsom's statewide COVID -19 lockdown

California Governor Gavin Newsom’s latest coronavirus lockdown restrictions are getting a strong push back from mayors, lawmakers, and sheriffs who say banning outdoor dining and closing children’s playgrounds are unnecessary and ‘not supported by science.’

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, a Republican who is said to be planning to challenge Newsom for the governorship in 2022, said the Democratic governor’s moves are stoking ‘anger and frustration.’

‘We get new executive orders with no science behind it, and so when you see this new order that says, for example, we’re going to shut down outdoor dining, which has been working very successfully, when it says we’re going to shut down playgrounds for families and kids, once again there’s no science behind it, and that’s why you see this growing anger and frustration,’ Faulconer told Fox News.

State lawmakers, including some from Newsom’s own party, called on the governor to reconsider his move that would close public outdoor playgrounds, which would mostly impact poor and low-income children.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, a Republican who is said to be planning to challenge Gavin Newsom for the governorship in 2022, said the Democratic governor¿s moves are stoking ¿anger and frustration.¿

California Governor Gavin Newsom¿s latest coronavirus lockdown restrictions are getting a strong push back from mayors, lawmakers, and sheriffs who say banning outdoor dining and closing children¿s playgrounds are unnecessary and ¿not supported by science.¿

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer (left) has slammed California Governor Gavin Newsom’s (right) latest coronavirus restrictions, saying there is ‘no science behind it’ 

Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco released a video on Friday accusing Newsom of being a ¿bully¿ and vowed that his department won't be ¿blackmailed¿ into enforcing the stay-at-home orders

Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco released a video on Friday accusing Newsom of being a ‘bully’ and vowed that his department won’t be ‘blackmailed’ into enforcing the stay-at-home orders

‘While we must appropriately consider best practices to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, we also must ensure the children across the state are not unfairly deprived of their opportunities for outdoor access and play,’ states the letter, which is signed by a dozen legislators.

‘The broad closure of playgrounds unfairly negatively impacts children and families.’

Meanwhile, three sheriffs from Southern California have already indicated that they would refrain from aggressively enforcing the order.

Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco released a video on Friday accusing Newsom of being a ‘bully’ and vowed that his department won’t be ‘blackmailed’ into enforcing the stay-at-home orders.

Newsom said that counties that did not enforce the order would have state funds redirected to those that did, prompting Bianco to react angrily.

State lawmakers, including some from Newsom¿s own party, called on the governor to reconsider his move that would close public outdoor playgrounds, which would mostly impact poor and low-income children

State lawmakers, including some from Newsom’s own party, called on the governor to reconsider his move that would close public outdoor playgrounds, which would mostly impact poor and low-income children

¿While we must appropriately consider best practices to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, we also must ensure the children across the state are not unfairly deprived of their opportunities for outdoor access and play,¿ states the letter, which is signed by a dozen legislators

The letter's signatories are seen above

‘While we must appropriately consider best practices to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, we also must ensure the children across the state are not unfairly deprived of their opportunities for outdoor access and play,’ states the letter, which is signed by a dozen legislators

Bianco accused Newsom of hypocrisy.

‘Ironically, it wasn’t that long ago that our same governor loudly and publicly argued how wrong it was for the president of the United States to withhold federal funding from states not complying with federal laws,’ Bianco said.

The sheriff called out Newsom for banning Californians from indoor dining at restaurants just weeks after he was photographed with 11 other people doing just that, a move that Bianco termed was ‘extremely hypocritical.’

‘The dictatorial attitude toward California residents while dining in luxury, traveling, keeping his business open, and sending his kids to in-person private schools is very telling about his attitude towards California residents,’ Bianco said.

The sheriff said the new restrictions were ‘flat-out ridiculous’ and that the metrics used to determine them were ‘unbelievably faulty.’

Bianco insisted that hospitals were experiencing ‘normal seasonal increases’ and that it was wrong for the governor to threaten to withhold funding from counties since it would adversely affect hospitals.

‘It appears part of the new goal is to shift attention away from his and others personal behavior with a “Do as I say, not as I do,” attitude by turning public opinion against California Sheriffs,’ Bianco said.

He added: ‘Leaders do not threaten, attempt to intimidate, or cause fear, bullies do.’

Bianco said that while his department would not enforce Newsom’s order, he is urging the public to take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Riverside County has experienced record hospitalizations in recent weeks. As of Friday, there were 658 COVID-19 hospitalizations.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said that it, too, will refrain from using law enforcement to force residents to abide by the governor’s orders.

Newsom has been criticized for imposing harsh restrictions on indoor dining just weeks after he was photographed eating dinner alongside 11 other unmasked guests at the French Laundry restaurant in Napa County on November 6

Newsom has been criticized for imposing harsh restrictions on indoor dining just weeks after he was photographed eating dinner alongside 11 other unmasked guests at the French Laundry restaurant in Napa County on November 6

‘We will continue to work closely with our county and city partners to best serve our communities,’ the statement read.

‘As has been the case since we were initially faced with the difficulties of living and working through this pandemic together, our goal is to educate and gain voluntary compliance regarding Public Health orders.’

With coronavirus cases surging at a record pace, Newsom announced a new stay-at-home order on Thursday and said if people don’t comply the state’s hospitals will be overwhelmed with infected patients.

Newsom’s latest effort to keep people from gathering with others from outside their households divides the state into five regions and links business closures and travel restrictions to hospital ICU capacity.

When a region has fewer than 15 per cent of its ICU beds available, new restrictions are imposed.

Newsom said four regions — all but the San Francisco Bay area — could meet that threshold ‘within a day or two.’

A litany of changes would take effect, including closing hair salons, barber shops and movie theaters.

Restaurants may only serve takeout and delivery, and playgrounds will be off-limits.

Meanwhile, six San Francisco Bay Area regions issued a new stay-at-home order on Friday as the number of virus cases surge and hospitals fill.

Newsom said on Thursday that the area was exempt from his regional lockdown.

But the local health officials overrode him and decided to preemptively enforce a lockdown, to stem what they see as a tsunami of new cases coming their way.

‘We cannot wait until after we have driven off the cliff to pull the emergency [brake],’ said Santa Clara County Health Officer Sara Cody. 

The changes will take effect for most of the area at 10pm on Sunday and last through January 4. 

The counties have not yet reached Newsom’s threshold, announced a day earlier requiring such an order when 85 per cent of ICU beds at regional hospitals are full, but officials said the hospital system will be overwhelmed before the end of December when Newsom’s order would apply.

‘We don’t think we can wait for the state’s new restrictions to go into effect later this month. This is an emergency,’ said Contra Costa Health Officer Chris Farnitano.

The order came the same day the state recorded another daily record number of cases, with 22,018, and hospitalizations topped 9,000 for first time.

As of Friday, California has 1,286,557 confirmed cases of COVID-19, resulting in 19,582 deaths. 

The number of COVID-related deaths increased by 0.7 per cent from the prior day total of 19,437. 

This week’s Thursday-to-Friday jump is one of the largest day-over-day case count increases of the pandemic. Only two others are higher, one in August and the one from Tuesday to Wednesday of this week. 

The number of hospitalizations due to confirmed and suspected COVID-19 cases in California reached a total of 9,948 on Friday – an increase of 246 from the prior day total. 

The number of ICU patients due to confirmed and suspected COVID-19 cases in California reached a total of 2,248, an increase of 101 from the prior day total.

The state’s current test positivity rate is now 7.3 per cent, up from 7 per cent just 24 hours earlier. That’s very close to where it was during the pandemic’s late July peak, at 7.5 per cent despite the fact that the number of tests is up 10 per cent since then. That usually decreases the positivity rate. 

It means restaurants will have to close to indoor and outdoor dining, bars and wineries must close along with hair and nail salons and playgrounds. 

Shoppers at Costco in Santa Clarita fill their trolleys on Friday, ahead of Monday's lockdown

Shoppers at Costco in Santa Clarita fill their trolleys on Friday, ahead of Monday’s lockdown 

Food is loaded on Friday as drivers in their vehicles wait in line on arrival at a 'Let's Feed LA County' food distribution

Food is loaded on Friday as drivers in their vehicles wait in line on arrival at a ‘Let’s Feed LA County’ food distribution

LA County sheriff refuses to enforce Newsom’s lockdown 

In Los Angeles County, the nation’s largest with 10 million residents, Sheriff Alex Villanueva announced that his department would not be clamping down on businesses, but rather would be conducting ‘targeted enforcement on super-spreader events.’ 

The sheriff previously said he had relied on voluntary compliance with health orders.

‘I want to stay away from businesses that are trying to comply the best they can,’ he told KTTV. 

‘They bent over backwards to modify their entire operation to conform to these current health orders, and then they have the rug yanked out from under them — that’s a disservice. 

‘I don’t want to make their lives any more miserable.’

Retail stores and shopping centers can operate with just 20 per cent customer capacity. Gatherings of any size with people outside of your household are banned.

Berkeley Health Officer Lisa Hernandez said people should not meet in person with anyone they don’t live with, ‘even in a small group, and even outdoors with precautions.’

‘If you have a social bubble, it is now popped,’ Hernandez said. 

‘Do not let this be the last holiday with your family.’

The new stay-at-home order will cut sharply into the most profitable shopping season and threaten financial ruin for businesses already struggling after 10 months of on-again, off-again restrictions and slow sales because of the pandemic.

The five Bay Area counties, along with San Mateo County, were the first region in the country to order a lockdown on March 17 when the area of seven million people had fewer than 280 cases and just three deaths. 

San Mateo County officials were not part of the news conference Friday announcing the changes.

Officials said it was much easier to implement such an order regionally, since the Bay Area counties are so closely connected.

In Santa Clara County, the most populated in the region and home to two million residents and the headquarters of Apple and Google, officials previously banned all high school, collegiate and professional sports and imposed a quarantine for people traveling to the region from areas more than 150 miles away after officials began seeing an uptick in cases following Thanksgiving Day. 

Compliance officers fanned out throughout the county on Thanksgiving Day and continue to visit business to make sure they follow capacity rules and other precautions.

All the counties, except for Marin, are in the most restrictive purple tier in the state’s pandemic blueprint for the economy, forcing most non-essential indoor activities to stop.

A street blocked off for outdoor dining is mostly empty on Friday in Sausalito, California

A street blocked off for outdoor dining is mostly empty on Friday in Sausalito, California

Chandeliers hangs above a space where outdoor dining had been set up at Flemings Prime Steakhouse in Woodland Hills

Chandeliers hangs above a space where outdoor dining had been set up at Flemings Prime Steakhouse in Woodland Hills

Empty tables are seen outside of a restaurant set up for outdoor dining on Friday in Burbank, California

Empty tables are seen outside of a restaurant set up for outdoor dining on Friday in Burbank, California

Public health officials have warned that the toll from Thanksgiving gatherings could start to swamp hospitals by Christmas.

Concern over hospital staffing shortages 

While the spring surge was more limited in scope, with some parts of California being hit harder than others. 

That allowed more room for shifting resources and bringing in medical professionals from areas that could spare them. 

The current surge is not only larger than the spring one but also much more widespread, leaving fewer areas with nurses and doctors to spare. 

In the last month, the state imposed restrictions in 52 of the state’s 58 counties, including asking people not to leave the state and implementing an overnight curfew for all but essential trips, such as getting groceries.

But it has not worked, because data shows people are ignoring the rules, Dr Mark Ghaly, the state’s top public health officer, acknowledged on Thursday.

California issued a statewide order for its 39.5 million residents, 8.5 million of whom live in the Bay Area. 

The state has almost double the population of New York state and 10 million more than Texas.

Another concern is that the state may struggle to staff its medical facilities.

While the spring surge was more limited in scope, with some parts of California being hit harder than others. 

That allowed more room for shifting resources and bringing in medical professionals from areas that could spare them. 

The current surge is not only larger than the spring one but also much more widespread, leaving fewer areas with nurses and doctors to spare. 

Newsom’s order divides the state into five regions – none of which currently meet the threshold for the new restrictions. 

He said four out of five regions – Greater Sacramento, Northern California, San Joaquin Valley and Southern California – are on track to hit that threshold within a few days and the fifth – the Bay Area – is expected to meet it by the middle of the month. 

Bay Area officials decided not to wait that long. 

Newsom said that when the areas do surpass 85 per cent capacity, the state will order affected regions to close hair salons and barber shops, limit retail stores to 20 per cent capacity and only allow restaurants to offer take-out and delivery for at least three weeks. 

Northern California has 15 per cent of its ICU beds available, San Joaquin Valley has 22 per cent, Greater Sacramento has 24 per cent, Southern California has 26 per cent and the Bay Area has 28 per cent. 

Scroll down for video 

The announcement on Thursday came after California broke its record for daily new cases on Wednesday with more than 20,000, bringing the state’s total to 1,264,539 with 19,437 deaths. 

Newsom’s new lockdown rules 

California’s latest lockdown order will go into effect in regions that drop below 15 percent available ICU bed capacity, with restrictions lasting for three weeks.   

Restrictions: 

– Limit mixing with other households as much as possible 

– Retail held to 20 percent capacity 

– Restaurants limited to takeout and delivery

– Full closure of: Playgrounds; indoor recreational facilities; hair salons and barbershops; personal care services; museums, zoos, and aquariums; movie theaters; wineries, bars, breweries, and distilleries; family entertainment centers; cardrooms and satellite wagering; live audience sports; amusement parks

Exceptions: 

Travel for essential services such as medical care and groceries 

Distanced outdoor activity such as hiking 

Schools already holding in-person classes 

Outdoor religious services

Offices where remote work is not possible

‘The bottom line is if we don’t act now, our hospital system will be overwhelmed,’ Newsom said while announcing the order, which he called ‘Pulling an Emergency brake’, at a video press conference. 

Infections have exploded in recent weeks to the point that the state is averaging 15,000 new cases a day and the positivity rate has more than doubled, reaching seven percent in the two-week period ended Wednesday.

Newsom, who is quarantining at home after three of his children were exposed to the virus, warned earlier this week that he would take ‘drastic action’ if the numbers didn’t improve. 

Public health officials have said the current figures don’t include the COVID-19 infections expected to arise from Thanksgiving holiday travel and gatherings. 

Those cases probably will start showing up in hospitals around Christmas, experts say.  

During Thursday’s press conference Newsom emphasized the state’s recent surge in coronavirus deaths – noting there were two consecutive days this week with a record 113 fatalities.

A month ago the state was reporting an average of less than 20 deaths per day.  

Residents of the areas under the restrictions will be required to stay home as much as possible, with a blanket ban on nonessential gatherings, but they will be allowed to continue essential activities including seeking medical care and buying groceries. 

The order also allows outdoor religious ceremonies and distanced outdoor exercise such as hiking. 

It does not affect schools that have already reopened for in-person classes.  

Retail businesses will be limited to 20 per cent capacity while all playgrounds, salons and barbershops, museums, movie theaters, wineries, bars, casinos and amusement parks must close entirely.   

‘We are at a tipping point in our fight against the virus and we need to take decisive action now to prevent California’s hospital system from being overwhelmed in the coming weeks,’ Newsom said.

‘I’m clear-eyed that this is hard on all of us – especially our small businesses who are struggling to get by.’ 

Newsom’s latest order mirrors the one he imposed at the start of the pandemic in March, except that it is broken down by region rather than statewide. 

Newsom ramped up restrictions a week before Thanksgiving, imposing a nighttime curfew on nonessential gatherings and business in counties that are in the strictest purple tier of the state's color-coded system for reopening the economy. Fifty-one of the state's 58 counties are currently in that tier, comprising more than 99 percent of the population

Newsom ramped up restrictions a week before Thanksgiving, imposing a nighttime curfew on nonessential gatherings and business in counties that are in the strictest purple tier of the state’s color-coded system for reopening the economy. Fifty-one of the state’s 58 counties are currently in that tier, comprising more than 99 percent of the population

Percentage of available ICU units by region

 Bay Area: 28%

Greater Sacramento: 24%

Northern California: 15%

San Joaquin Valley: 22%

Southern California: 26%

The governor and members of his office acknowledged that it won’t be easy for Californians to go back into isolation, but said locking down will give the state its best chance of curbing the spread of the virus.  

‘We know what a struggle this pandemic has been for so many California families, but our actions have saved countless lives,’ Dr Mark Ghaly, California Health and Human Services Secretary, said in a written statement.

‘This targeted action will preserve vital ICU beds for people who need them – whether they’re COVID-19 patients or someone who has suffered a heart attack or a stroke.’

Newsom already ramped up restrictions a week before Thanksgiving, imposing a nighttime curfew on nonessential gatherings and business in counties that are in the purple tier of the state’s color-coded system for reopening the economy. 

Fifty-one of the state’s 58 counties are currently in that tier, comprising more than 99 per cent of the population.   

Los Angeles County was placed under even stricter rules than those set by the state on Wednesday as Mayor Eric Garcetti announced an order closing non-essential businesses, banning all travel including walking and prohibiting social gatherings outside a single household.

On Friday, Garcetti gave an astonishingly grim forecast of the death toll, telling a press conference: ‘We are facing a decade of homicides’.

He warned his county is on track to surpass 11,000 deaths by the end of the year, with more than 500,000 cases.

Garcetti urged people to ‘control’ the spread and stay home for Christmas. 

On Friday evening, Eric Garcetti told his city of the future toll: 'We are facing a decade of homicides'

On Friday evening, Eric Garcetti told his city of the future toll: ‘We are facing a decade of homicides’

Customers wait in line outside a store in Los Angeles' Third Street Promenade on Thursday after the county was placed under new lockdown restrictions

Customers wait in line outside a store in Los Angeles’ Third Street Promenade on Thursday after the county was placed under new lockdown restrictions

The Third Street Promenade was nearly entirely deserted on Thursday after Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti's new lockdown went into effect

The Third Street Promenade was nearly entirely deserted on Thursday after Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s new lockdown went into effect

Customers are screened before entering an Apple store in downtown Los Angeles

Customers are screened before entering an Apple store in downtown Los Angeles

It came as the county – the nation’s most populous with more than 10 million residents, sees ‘terrifying’ surges in daily cases with 6,000 infections recorded Tuesday. 

Garcetti’s order said Los Angeles ‘is now close to a devastating tipping point’ that could overwhelm the hospital system, ‘in turn risking needless suffering and death’. 

The mayor urged police and the city attorney to enforce the order, which carries misdemeanor penalties.  

In Los Angeles County, sheriffs are refusing to enforce Newsom’s order, and will instead focus on targeting ‘superspreader events’.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva said late Thursday that his department, which oversees 10 million residents, has concentrated on education and voluntary compliance since March regarding health orders pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘Moving forward, we will additionally be conducting targeted enforcement on super-spreader events,’ Villanueva tweeted.

But he said his deputies will not descend on businesses if and when Newsom’s new stay-at-home order announced Thursday is triggered.

‘I want to stay away from businesses that are trying to comply the best they can,’ Villanueva told KTTV. 

‘They bent over backwards to modify their entire operation to conform to these current health orders, and then they have the rug yanked out from under them — that’s a disservice. 

‘I don’t want to make their lives any more miserable.’ 

A normally busy Ventura Blvd in Tarzana is almost empty on Thursday during the second coronavirus lockdown to hit Los Angeles

A normally busy Ventura Blvd in Tarzana is almost empty on Thursday during the second coronavirus lockdown to hit Los Angeles

The 101 freeway in Los Angeles is seen with little traffic on Thursday

The 101 freeway in Los Angeles is seen with little traffic on Thursday

source: dailymail.co.uk

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