Newsom pulls ’emergency brake’; El Dorado County moved into purple tier |

Newsom pulls ’emergency brake’; El Dorado County moved into purple tier

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — El Dorado County will be moved to the most restrictive purple tier later this week as California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday said he was pulling the “emergency brake” in the state’s efforts to reopen its economy amid a coronavirus surge that is eclipsing the summer spike.

El Dorado, along with Placer and Nevada counties in the Lake Tahoe region, will officially move into the purple tier of the state’s “Blueprint for a Safer Economy” on Tuesday, Nov. 17.

“We are sounding the alarm,” Newsom said in a statement. “California is experiencing the fastest increase in cases we have seen yet — faster than what we experienced at the outset of the pandemic or even this summer. The spread of COVID-19, if left unchecked, could quickly overwhelm our health care system and lead to catastrophic outcomes.” 

In the purple tier, businesses must modify operations, including restaurants moving their service to outdoors only, including curbside pickup and delivery, and retail stores reducing to 25% capacity. Bar, breweries and distilleries will be closed. Churches must hold service outside. Nail salons, tattoo parlors, and body waxing businesses may stay open with modifications.

For more information on the tiers and industry-specific guidance, visit here.

The troubling rise in cases in November has come at a faster pace than a spike in mid-June and could quickly surpass the peak of the hospitalizations at the time, health officials have said. The state became the second in the U.S. last week to surpass 1 million cases of the virus as the U.S. has now recorded more than 11 million cases.

The state has blamed the spike in cases mainly on people who have grown fatigued coping with the virus and have ignored public health warnings to not socialize with friends and family members. Those warnings have been more forceful in advance of Thanksgiving next week.

Newsom and the governors of Oregon and Washington on Friday issued a travel advisory urging their residents to avoid non-essential travel and to quarantine for two weeks after arriving on the West Coast from another state or country. 

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown also announced a two-week “freeze” Friday to limit restaurants to offering only take-out food and close gyms. She said the travel advisory could become a requirement if cases remain at current levels. 

Newsom’s action will put most of the state’s 58 counties in the strictest of the four-tier system for reopening that is based on virus case and infection rates.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Correction: This article has been updated to show the new purple tier restrictions begin Tuesday, Nov. 17.

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