2020 has been a year of constant changes. Trying to keep on top of California’s stay-at-home orders during this pandemic is practically a part-time job. Just when you think you’ve got things figured out, the Governor makes a new announcement that lists a new batch of things you can and can’t do.
Why Stay-at-Home Orders Happen
It’s important to understand that the stay-at-home orders aren’t designed to make your life difficult. It’s also important to understand that the stay-at-home orders do have a purpose. The ultimate goal of the stay-at-home orders is to slow the spread of COVID-19 and so that medical resources remain available at all times. The concern is that without the stay-at-home orders, the virus would spread so quickly that the hospitals would fill up and the staff would have no choice but to turn people away.
No one wants that to happen.
How Long Will the Stay-at-Home Orders Remain in Place?
Each time a new stay-at-home order is issued, it comes with an expiration date. Many look at the date and hope it means that as soon as it arrives, they will be free to do whatever they want again. It doesn’t look like that will happen anytime soon.
It’s expected that California’s stay-at-home order won’t change much as long as the state’s hospitals are at 15% or more capacity. The state currently has broken itself into regions so that it can better track the spread of COVID-19. Both Southern California and San Joaquin Valley have a significant number of cases. In those areas, the ICU capacity is at 0%.
The fact that the hospitals are at full capacity is alarming, but that doesn’t mean they won’t have room for you if you get sick or are injured. The 0% availability indicates that all the spaces allotted to treat COVID-19 patients are full, but space has been set aside for patients who are suffering from something else. Still, if you have something that can wait until you can see your regular doctor, that is the best option.
What Happens if you Violate the Stay-at-Home Order
One of the big issues with the stay-at-home order is that no one is completely sure what will happen if they ignore it. Many people have noticed friends and neighbors who aren’t adhering to the orders and get the impression that no one cares.
The reality is that as this pandemic drags on, people who violate California’s stay-at-home order are getting caught and they are facing some steep consequences. The problem is that those instances aren’t getting enough press.
The reality is that in several California cities, individuals who failed to adhere to the stay-at-home order were noticed by the police and found themselves paying steep fines. When they were charged, the individuals who decided to go out for drinks, use closed beaches, or simply ignore social distancing guidelines learned that they were facing $1,000 fines and a possible 1-year jail sentence.
Some California police departments have even gone so far as to create special task forces who are responsible for looking for and ticketing people who violate the current stay-at-home order in California.
Businesses that had been ordered to close during the shut-down and who failed to do so were also fined.
A Silver Lining
The good news is that a vaccine is now available and high-risk individuals as well as some front-line workers are starting to receive it. The hope is that as more of the population gains access to the vaccine, the number of COVID cases will decrease and the state will start to open up again.