California considering statewide curfew amid COVID-19 surge, Gov. Newsom says

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday that his administration is considering a statewide curfew amid a surge in COVID-19 cases.

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Daily COVID-19 cases have doubled in California over the last 10 days, forcing the governor's office to pull "an emergency brake," Newsom said at a press conference detailing the state's response. A total of 41 of California's 58 counties are now classified as "purple," the tier of COVID-19 related spread requiring the strictest lockdown guidelines. Just 13 counties were classified "purple" last week.

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“We also are considering – full disclosure and a little bit of a preview – the notion of a curfew,” Newsom said at a press conference. “Before you jump in terms of your mindset of whether that’s a good idea or a bad idea, we are assessing that as well.”

Newsom said his team is reviewing studies from France, Germany and Saudi Arabia on the “efficacy of their strategies as it relates to curfews.” The governor referenced “statewide curfews of interest” in Massachusetts and Virginia as examples of what a statewide curfew in California could resemble.

California officials are still in discussions on whether to implement the curfew and key details about how it would be enforced. Newsom said the curfew restrictions would likely impact “certain kinds of industry and business activities.”

“We really want the data to bear out,” Newsom said. “We want the information not to be anecdotal. We want to really take a look at these studies.”

Newsom said counties with new lockdown tier designations must make "industry changes" within 24 hours, rather than three days, in order to comply with state guidelines.

Under the "purple" restriction tier, restaurants, movie theaters and houses of worship are limited to outdoor service only and bars are closed entirely. Retail stores can open at 25% capacity with modified operations. Residents in purple counties were advised not to gather indoors with other households.

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Newsom said he was aware of concerns from local business owners regarding the re-imposition of restrictions and said providing financial support for small business was his "number one priority" when considering the state's budgetary needs in 2021.

The governor touted Calfornia's state of preparedness to address the uptick in cases. The state has 11 "surge facilities" that can pop up within 24 to 96 hours and provide an additional capacity of about 2,000 hospital beds.

Newsom said California's inventory of personal protective equipment includes 180 million N-95 masks, 23.9 million face shields and 12.8 million sample collection kits. The state is conducting 164,000 average daily tests for COVID-19 and results are processed within 24 to 48 hours.

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The governor expressed optimism about vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer, adding that California would pursue a "safe and equitable distribution of a vaccine" once it is available."

Newsom also apologized for attending a 12-person dinner party at the French Laundry restaurant in Napa Valley, last week in violation of state guidelines.

This is a breaking story. Check back for updates.

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