By Ovunc Kutlu
ANKARA (AA) – Fighting a rising wave of COVID-19, the US state of California has ordered a new set of restrictions on travel, public activities, and businesses.
As local healthcare facilities are close to reaching their full capacity, Governor Gavin Newsom's "regional stay-at-home order" announced late Thursday will last at least 21 days, starting this weekend, going into the holiday season.
"The bottom line is, if we don’t act now, our hospital system will be overwhelmed. If we don’t act now, we’ll continue to see our death rate climb, more lives lost," he told a news conference.
The restrictions include the closure of personal service businesses such as hair and nail salons. While restaurants will return to take-out service only, retail businesses will be limited to 20% of their customer capacity with no indoor eating.
Newsom remains in quarantine with his family after his children were exposed to individuals who tested positive for COVID-19.
Despite earlier indoor dining restrictions, the governor was photographed on Nov. 6 in a restaurant with a large group without wearing a face mask. He later admitted making a "bad mistake."
After New York and Texas, California has the third-highest fatality rate in the US with 19,594 people losing their lives from COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
The southern part of the state is also grappling with wildfires and power outages.
Strong winds caused a wildfire to run out of control late Wednesday in Orange County's Silverado Canyon, forcing residents of nearby homes to flee.
The wildfire affected southern California utilities, which had to cut the power of thousands of residents.