Newsom Tells All Californians To Avoid Group Gatherings

Gov. Gavin Newsom, speaking on Facebook Live on March 16, 2020, told gyms and movie theaters to close as the state increases attempts to stop the coronavirus outbreak.
Photo credit California's Governor's Office

Gov. Gavin Newsom imposed several measures designed to counteract the fast-spreading coronavirus Monday, including protections for renters, extra services for seniors and an instruction for everyone in California to avoid social gatherings. 

In an attempt to protect vulnerable renters and homeowners during the coronavirus upheaval, Newsom issued an executive order that could protect them from losing their homes. 

In a separate order, Newsom told state agencies to focus their services upon seniors in licensed facilities and other populations groups who are vulnerable during the outbreak. This move came after Newsom had told people 65 years and older to self-isolate in their homes. 

Speaking on Facebook Live Monday night, Newsom told the public to give up on social gatherings and recommended that gyms and movie theaters temporarily shutter their operations. Restaurants, he said, should close dining rooms and only serve meals to go. 

This statewide call came after six counties in the Bay Area imposed a shelter-in-place order telling people to remain home with some exemptions so-called "essential" activities for three weeks. 

There have been 575 coronavirus cases in the state, including 297 in the Bay Area, according to the San Francisco Chronicle

The housing-related directive allows local governments to freeze evictions of tenants and stop foreclosures against homeowners. The order, issued Monday, also stops gas, electric, phone and internet utilities from cutting service to customers who are unable to pay 

“People shouldn’t lose or be forced out of their home because of the spread of COVID-19,” Newsom said in a statement. “Over the next few weeks, everyone will have to make sacrifices – but a place to live shouldn’t be one of them. I strongly encourage cities and counties take up this authority to protect Californians.”

The order, which will be in effect until May 31, does not relieve tenants, mortgage borrowers and utility customers of their obligation to pay.