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Southern California residents received an emergency alert from the state on Tuesday, reminding them of the recently enacted stay-at-home order as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations rapidly increase.

Around noon, the following alert was sent out to cellphones in the region: “State of CA: New public health stay at home order in your area. COVID-19 is spreading rapidly. Stay home except for essential activity. Wear a mask. Keep your distance. Visit”

This emergency alert was sent to cellphones in California on Dec. 8, 2020.
This emergency alert was sent to cellphones in California on Dec. 8, 2020.

The regional restrictions, the toughest implemented by the state since the first stay-at-home order in March, kicked in at 11:59 p.m. Sunday in the 11 counties that make up the Southern California region, as defined by the state. The new measure was triggered by capacity at intensive care units reaching at least 85%.

The San Joaquin Valley region is under a similar order, and residents in those counties also received the alert on Tuesday.

Many different sectors will be forced close again due to the order, including personal care services such as hair and nail salons, and barbershops. Restaurants will also be prohibited from allowing customers to dine-in, even outdoors, though they can offer takeout and delivery.

Additionally, indoor and outdoor playgrounds, indoor recreational facilities, museums and zoos, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, and wineries, bars, breweries and distilleries will also be forced to close temporarily.

“The fact is that transmission is now so widespread across our state, that most all non-essential activities create a serious risk for transmission,” Dr. Mark Ghaly, California’s Health and Human Services secretary, said Tuesday.

He noted that the new order was based in part on the state’s past experience in March, when Californians helped flatten the curve, preventing the health care system from becoming overwhelmed.

But there are some significant changes from the previous stay-home order. With the holiday shopping season well underway, retail stores and malls will still be allowed to operate with capacity limits — unlike in March when sector was shut down.

Also notably, this one won’t impact K-12 schools, even campuses open for in-person instruction.

Between the two regions, more than 80% of the state’s population is impacted by the order, which will last a minimum of three weeks.

California has not issued a stay-at-home order yet in the state’s other three regions — the San Francisco Bay Area, Greater Sacramento and Northern California — though they indicated last week that was likely to happen at some point this month as hospitals and ICUs increasingly see record numbers of patients with COVID-19.

On Monday, California reported the most new coronavirus cases in a single-day with 34,000, about 12,000 more cases than the state’s previous record, according to the Los Angeles Times.