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More restrictions when Covid-19 Surge continues

Good morning.

Whatever short deadline from the endless parade of discouraging news we might have hoped for this long weekend, it was cut short on Friday when Los Angeles County officials announced the most restrictive shutdown in the state and banned all gatherings, public and private.

This means that even before kl. 22, when the state’s restricted curfew takes effect, residents of the county, far from California’s most populous, are not allowed to gather with anyone outside their households as of today. The new order takes effect on December 20th.

[TrackCalifornia’s[TrackCalifornia’s[SporCaliforniens[TrackCalifornia’scoronavirus cases by county.]

It’s not quite as serious as the state’s home order in March, nor was it much of a surprise.

Schools and day care that have been allowed to reopen may remain open unless they have outbreaks. Religious services and protests may still take place, and stores may continue to operate with limited capacity.

And the county’s most contested move to close outdoor dining had already taken place.

But the fact that Los Angeles officials set what sounded like a high threshold for further restrictions – an average of 4,500 new cases a day in the county over five days – and the virus quickly rolled past it underscores the feeling that we are throwing down a hill even though officials have pulled the emergency brake.

[Read[Read[Læs[Readthe full order from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.]

One week ago, California reported 17,694 new cases, far more than any other state had done before, according to The New York Times database.

Leaders have repeatedly warned that the holiday was on the right track to be dangerous.

But as we learned more about how the virus spread, the tidal wave we now face here in California somehow felt less inevitable. Companies have adapted to operate outdoors, and in many cases throughout the state, they have been doing so for several months.

All of this has made this wave more confusing and has contributed to greater backlash against information about restrictions, especially in Los Angeles, where restaurateurs and some officials have said that closing outdoor cafes unfairly penalizes companies that have taken precautions.

[Readabout[Readabout[Læseom[Readaboutstate reopening levels.]

More broadly, the state’s curfew for counties in the most restrictive purple reopening level has drawn criticism, and some local law enforcement officials have said they will not enforce what KQED reported – although that was also the case with previous orders.

Nevertheless, the prevalence of Covid-19 in communities, as the Los Angeles Times explained, means that activities that were considered safer, such as dining or shopping, are now more dangerous than ever.

According to a county model, about 1 in 145 Angelenos are currently contagious with Covid-19.

While Los Angeles with a large number is a place that is very worrying as hospitals continue to fill up, other counties across the state are following suit by tightening restrictions.

San Francisco and San Mateo counties have moved into the purple level, and Santa Clara County, which was already in the purple level, added restrictions, including stricter capacity limits for stores and a temporary ban on contact sports, according to The San Francisco Chronicle.

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Read more:

  • “Dealing with collective urgency right now is crucial.” Here’s the full story Los Angeles County new restrictions. [The New York Times]

  • No more football and quarantine after traveling within the state: Here’s more about Santa Clara County New Rules. [The Mercury News]

If you missed it, meet Dr. Sara Cody, the county’s public health director who led the rollout of the country’s first shelter-in-place order.[[[[New York Times]

  • Here is what teaching in a pandemic similar to Baltimore, the site of one of the largest school opening experiments in the country. [The New York Times]

  • A challenge for distance learning: how to assign grades. An increase in D’s and F’s in San Diego County schools raises questions. [The San Diego Union-Tribune]

  • High school athletes gathered at the Capitol to get the state to let them play. [The Sacramento Bee]

  • More than 200 people working at Golden Gate Fields, a racetrack that stretches across the border between Berkeley and Albany, has tested positive for Covid-19. How did the virus spread so widely? [Berkeleyside]

  • For “nature heals” files: Sparrows in the Bay Area sing in tones – including in a “more seductive wheelbarrow” – which scientists have not heard for decades. [The San Francisco Chronicle]

  • Tours, lunch on the veranda and quick meals in the break room at the hospital: Here’s a look at Thanksgiving across the country, including in Los Angeles. [The New York Times]

If you missed it, here’s how Californians adapted their plans.[[[[New York Times]

  • Children breathe air, poisoned by a fire smoke – and especially children in poorer communities in the Central Valley are harmed. [The New York Times]

  • The fossil fuel industry has contributed to environmental law groups hoping to show that it is an ally of color communities, often disproportionately hurt by climate change. [The Los Angeles Times]

  • Amazon has gone into an unprecedented hiring, vacuums an average of 1,400 new workers a day. [The New York Times]

Read more about how the explosion of warehouses in the Inner Empire forces a disproportionate number of colored workers into difficult jobs and sends a large number of trucks through their communities.[[[[New York Times]

See all the election results in California here.[[[[New York Times]

  • IN Northern California’s Capay Valley, Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation regains its ancestral land with agriculture, including an award-winning extra virgin olive oil, produced under the Séka Hills brand. [Civil Eats]

Read more about how Native Californians recycle Native food routes.[[[[New York Times]

The Times is offering high school students and teachers free digital access until September 1, 2021. Learn how to sign up and invite your students here.

California Today kicks off at 06:30 weekdays in Pacific time. Tell us what you want to see: CAtoday@nytimes.com. Were you sent this email? Sign up for California Today here and read each issue online here.

Jill Cowan grew up in Orange County, graduated from UC Berkeley and has reported all over the state, including the Bay Area, Bakersfield and Los Angeles – but she always wants to see more. Stay tuned here or further Twitter.

California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from UC Berkeley.

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