Governor Issues “Stay at Home” Order

California governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order on March 19 requiring all Californians to stay home except to get food, care for a relative or friend, get necessary health care, or go to an essential job.

The order also states that those working in “critical infrastructure sectors” may continue their work because of the importance of these sectors to Californians’ health and well-being. The federal government has identified 16 critical infrastructure sectors considered so vital to the United States that their incapacitation or destruction would have a debilitating effect on security, economic security, public health or safety.

On March 4, Newsom proclaimed a State of Emergency to exist in California as a result of the threat of COVID-19.

Since then, COVID-19 has rapidly spread throughout California, necessitating updated and more stringent guidance from federal, state, and local public health officials.

“This Order is being issued to protect the public health of Californians. The California Department of Public Health looks to establish consistency across the state in order to ensure that we mitigate the impact of COVID-19. Our goal is simple, we want to bend the curve, and disrupt the spread of the virus,” the order reads.

When people need to leave their homes or places of residence, they should at all times practice social distancing.

On March 20, the Orange County Public Health Care agency released the following statement:

What Orange County Residents Should Know About State Public Health Officer Order

Businesses that remain open are encouraged to support their employees in working from home as much as possible. Employers and employees who need financial assistance during this time, should visit the Employment Development Department’s COVID-19 website(

Residents are encouraged to practice good health hygiene, including washing their hands, staying home if they are sick, avoiding close contact with people who are sick, and covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or their sleeves (not hands). Practice social distancing whenever possible by keeping a distance of six feet between yourself and others.

Does this supersede the County of Orange Public Health Order?

Yes. Our order includes that any State of California Orders that are more restrictive supersede the County Public Health Order.

How long will we stay at home?

This order went into effect Thursday, March 19, 2020 and will remain in place until further notice.

Which businesses can stay open?

Businesses and employees will have to review the 16 federal critical infrastructure sectors ( to determine if they will still operate and at what level.

What can I do? What’s open?

Per the order, essential services will remain open such as:

  • Gas stations
  • Pharmacies
  • Food: grocery stores, farmers markets, food banks, convenience stores, take-out and delivery restaurants
  • Banks
  • Laundromats/laundry services

Essential state and local government functions will also remain open, including law enforcement and offices that provide government programs and services.

What’s closed?

  • In-restaurant dining (eating inside a restaurant)
  • Bars and nightclubs
  • Entertainment venues
  • Gyms and fitness studios
  • Public events and gatherings
  • Convention Centers

This is not an exhaustive list. Please refer to the 16 federal critical infrastructure sectors (

Can I go outside?

You can go outside for walks and recreation but won’t be able to do so in groups. We recommend avoiding play structures and playgrounds as they are high-touch areas.

Can I visit my family?

You can continue to interact with family.

Why should I comply?

This is a lawful order from the State of California that requires your compliance. This order protects the health of all California residents. By staying home you are protecting your loved ones and your neighbors. Your community needs your help to “flatten the curve,” which reduces the risk of exposure for everyone. This is best accomplished by adhering to the guidelines defined above. We are requesting your voluntary compliance.

Where does this apply?

This is in effect throughout the State of California.

Who do I call?

For business questions, this is a directive from the State. Please refer to the guidelines on the 16 federal critical infrastructure sectors(

For more information on the State order, visit

For general information about COVID-19, please call the OC Health Care Agency’s (HCA) Health Referral Line at (800) 564-8448, visit, or follow the HCA on Facebook (@ochealthinfo) and Twitter (@ochealth).

For non-medical questions, contact the County of Orange Public Information Hotline at (714) 628-7085.

For ideas about fun things to do while at home, check out this great article from our friends at Sustainable City in Whittier.