Servando Vargas/Courier A mixed media illustration of a traditional thanksgiving place setting featuring a mask, thermometer and hand sanitizer created on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The pandemic had shifted the way people celebrated the annual holiday due to increased infections and guidelines in California.

With Thanksgiving weekend upon us, the California Department of Public Health announced a new set of regulations and necessary precautions for people to follow, as Covid-19 cases have doubled in California in the last two weeks.

The state put into effect a limited stay at home order and a monthlong curfew that started Saturday. Los Angeles and all other counties in the purple tier will have to close all gatherings and nonessential businesses from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. This order will end Dec. 21, but it might be extended if the situation doesn’t improve. The order does not apply to people experiencing homelessness.

In addition, for three weeks starting Wednesday, Los Angeles County will once again prohibit dining at restaurants and bars and will limit businesses to takeout orders. The city of Pasadena has opted to maintain outdoor dining.

Last Thursday, Los Angeles County reported its largest number of cases in a single day since the pandemic started: 4,943.

California Governor Gavin Newsom now rates 41 counties as too risky to reopen, including Los Angeles County. He announced the return of stricter rules in a tweet Nov. 16.

“Due to the alarming increases in COVID19 cases, California is pulling an emergency brake, and to slow the spread, 41 counties —94% of California’s population —will now be in purple, the most restrictive tier,” Newsom wrote on Twitter.

Some people protested in Newport Beach, where the governor’s order of overnight curfew was not warmly welcomed.

“To have him making these laws, yet he personally doesn’t follow them. I mean, what does that say?” said Randy Scott, a diner in Newport Beach.

Scott was referring to the pictures of Newsom caught mingling without wearing a mask at the French Laundry restaurant Nov. 6.

“I wonder where Gov. Newsom is tonight at 10 p.m. You suppose he’s home in bed all tucked in sweet and nice? I would think not,” said Tye McClain, a diner in Newport Beach.

This Thanksgiving, the suggestion of the County’s public health department is to celebrate the holidays by connecting virtually with other friends and family who live outside their home. Other safe options are enjoying a drive around neighborhoods seeing home decorations. Public Health also recommends shopping early for groceries and presents to avoid crowds or have groceries delivered.

Officials emphasize the importance of maintaining health safety measures. People should gather with no more than three households present and Thanksgiving dinner must be held outside.

“Right now, the kindest thing we can do for our family, friends and neighbors is to protect each other from potentially becoming infected with COVID-19. As cases are surging and hospitalizations are increasing, we need to stay home as much as possible, protect those who are elderly or have underlying health conditions, and stop gathering with people not in our households,” said Barbara Ferrer, Ph.D., MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health.

While a month ago, hospitalizations and deaths were at their lowest level, new cases are now surging. Over the past week, the state has averaged 10,529 cases per day, and 60.3 new deaths daily. Roughly 74% of the dead were 65 or older. Hospitalizations are increasing, as well. There are 4,755 patients statewide with a confirmed case now, 72% more than two weeks ago, and higher death tallies are expected. When case counts increase, the death toll typically rises soon after. California has had 1,059,267 cases and 18,466 deaths related to COVID-19.

It is clearly stated by the California Department of Public Health that all gatherings put people at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19. Limiting or avoiding attending gatherings is a way to reduce the risk of spread as it lowers the number of different people who are interacting with each other. Additionally, with lower attendance, there is a better ability to perform valuable contact tracing if a positive case is discovered, which can help to slow the spread of COVID-19.

People at higher risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19, such as older adults and people with chronic medical conditions, are strongly urged not to attend any gatherings, especially indoor ones. Anyone with any COVID-19-like symptoms, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, night sweats, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, tiredness, muscle or body aches, headaches, confusion, or loss of sense of taste/smell, should stay home and not come into contact with anyone else outside their household.

Other California public health orders are to practice physical distancing and hand hygiene at gatherings, wear a face covering to keep the coronavirus from spreading, and to keep visits short. Gatherings should be two hours or less. The longer the duration, the risk of transmission increases.

“We are entering into the holidays, but also we’re entering into the part of the year when things cool down and people are more likely to congregate in settings that put their physical proximity and the likelihood of transmitting disease at higher risk,” Newsom told the LA Times.

Newsom also warned about the upcoming flu season, which could create complications in fighting the coronavirus, as the arrival of colder weather may lead people to spend more time indoors.

The LA County Public Health Department advises people to exercise, because it is important for both physical and mental health, and exercising outdoors is a great option. They encourage people to take advantage of Los Angeles’ wonderful trails and beaches. If people are walking or jogging in an area with other people around, they should wear a face covering and practice distancing at least 6 feet.

Besides wearing a mask and maintaining a physical distance, singing, shouting, cheering, chanting, playing of wind instruments and similar activities are not permitted in indoor gatherings.

“This limited stay at home order will reduce opportunities for disease transmission with the goal of decreasing the number of hours individuals are in the community and mixing with individuals outside of their household.” Acting State Public Health Officer of the California Department of Public Health Erica S. Pan said. “In particular, activities conducted from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. are often nonessential and more likely related to social activities and gatherings that have a higher likelihood of leading to reduced inhibition and reduced likelihood to adhere to COVID-19 preventive measures (e.g., wearing face coverings and maintaining physical distance).”

Even though this week the Los Angeles County’s Health Officer order is prohibiting dining at restaurants and bars once again, the County’s order does not affect Pasadena restaurants, which are controlled by the Pasadena Public Health Dept. They will have to decide whether to comply with the orders or not.

The County reminded everybody to stay home as much as possible for the next two to three weeks to flatten the curve and save lives and advised people not to travel for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.

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