Gavin Issues Stay-At-Home Orders For Entire State

In a televised public address March 19, California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered California residents to stay at home. In hopes of quelling the tide of Covid-19, the orders restrict non-essential movements of 40 million California residents.

“This is a moment we need to make tough decisions,” Newsom said. “We need to recognize reality.”

According to sources in Sacramento, people may still leave their homes for walks and exercise and for essential needs such as food and medical care. Restaurant meals can still be delivered to homes.

The governor is also mobilizing 500 California National Guard troops to help with food distribution. Newsom explained that their presence will only be for “humanitarian reasons.”

“I don’t believe the people of California need to be told through law enforcement that it’s appropriate just to home isolate,” he said.

How long will we stay home?


The California State Public Health Officer and Director of the California Department of Public Health is ordering all individuals living in the State of California to stay home or at their place of residence.

Read the full Executive Order here (pdf).

This goes into effect on Thursday, March 19, 2020. The order is in place until further notice.

What can I do? What’s open?

Essential services will remain open such as:

  • Gas stations
  • Pharmacies 
  • Food: Grocery stores, farmers markets, food banks, convenience stores, take-out and delivery restaurants 
  • Banks
  • Laundromats/laundry services

Essential state and local government functions will also remain open, including law enforcement and offices that provide government programs and services.

What’s closed?

  • Dine-in restaurants
  • Bars and nightclubs
  • Entertainment venues
  • Gyms and fitness studios
  • Public events and gatherings
  • Convention Centers

Where does this apply?

This is in effect throughout the State of California.

Questions and answers

Are airports and other forms of transportation safe during the spread of COVID-19? 

Crowded travel settings, like airports, may increase your risk of exposure to COVID-19. For specific travel considerations, see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on travel in the U.S.

Why is everything getting canceled?

Because people can spread this virus even if they never develop symptoms.

The California State Public Health Officer and Director of the California Department of Public Health is ordering all individuals living in the State of California to stay home or at their place of residence except as needed to maintain continuity of operation of the federal critical infrastructure sectors.

Learn more about the details of this order.

If you must go out for essential activities, maintain six feet from other individuals at all times. Any contact with other individuals should be preceded and followed by frequent hand washing.

Is it safe for me to go to the DMV and other government offices?

Crowded settings may increase your risk of exposure to COVID-19. If possible, conduct business online, by mail, kiosks,or over the phone. (Find DMV services online.) If you need to go to a government office:

  • avoid shaking hands
  • stay six feet (three paces) away from other people
  • avoid touching your face
  • wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • if soap and water aren’t available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer

The DMV is instituting appointment-only service, canceling all behind-the-wheel drive tests for the next 30 days, and suspending extended office hours and Saturday service. Additionally, the DMV has asked law enforcement to exercise discretion for 60 days in their enforcement of drivers license and vehicle registration expiration dates. Learn more about DMV changes to service.

Are there health risks to shopping at grocery stores?

Crowded settings may increase your risk of exposure to COVID-19. When you need to go to the grocery store:

  • clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces (such as shopping carts)
  • stay six feet (three paces) away from other people
  • avoid touching your face
  • when you get home, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • if soap and water aren’t available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer

If you are at higher risk of getting very sick (over 65 or with serious medical conditions), try to minimize errands by getting groceries delivered or asking for help from friends or family.

Questions and answers for workers

What can I do if I can’t work because I’m sick or quarantined because of COVID-19?

What kind of sick leave is available to me?

Sick leave varies by employee. For details see Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19): Frequently Asked Questions on laws enforced by the California Labor Commissioner’s Office.

What if my employer does not have paid sick leave?

For those not able to secure paid leave, state (California Family Rights Act) and federal laws (Family and Medical Leave Act) may qualify you for up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year.

Do I need a note or certificate from a medical provider to file for unemployment?

No, a medical certificate is not required. Here is more information on who is eligible for Unemployment Insurance (UI).

What if I can’t work because I’m taking care of someone who’s sick or quarantined? 

What can I do if my work hours are reduced because of COVID-19? 

You can file an Unemployment Insurance claim.

What can I do if I miss work because of school closures? 

Questions and answers for employers

How do I maintain a safe workplace?

What precautions should healthcare workers and organizations take?

See Cal/OSHA interim Guidance for Protecting Healthcare Workers.

How can I avoid laying off employees if my business is impacted by COVID-19?

Apply for the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Work Sharing Program.

As a small business owner, what programs are available to help me survive financially?

The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering low-interest federal disaster loans to small business suffering from the financial effects of COVID-19.

Questions and answers about taxes

Is the deadline for filing California tax returns extended? 

Yes. Taxpayers (individuals and businesses) affected by the coronavirus pandemic can file and pay by June 15, 2020. (For all deadlines between March 15 and June 15, 2010.) To claim this extension:

Taxpayers claiming the special COVID-19 relief should write the name of the state of emergency (for example, COVID-19) in black ink at the top of the tax return to alert FTB of the special extension period. If taxpayers are e-filing, they should follow the software instructions to enter disaster information.

See information from the CA Franchise Tax Board for more information.

What about county property taxes? Has that deadline changed?

Not yet. Check with your county for updates.

Are there any tax deductions for people affected by the COVID-19 outbreak?

No. Check with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, the California Franchise Tax Board, and your local government for updates.

Stay informed


WHEREAS on March 4, 2020, I proclaimed a State of Emergency to exist in California as a result of the threat of COVID-19; and

WHEREAS in a short period of time, COVID-19 has rapidly spread throughout California, necessitating updated and more stringent guidance from federal, state, and  local public health officials; and

WHEREAS for the preservation of public health and safety throughout the entire State of California, I find it necessary for all Californians to heed the State public health directives from the Department of Public Health.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GAVIN NEWSOM, Governor of the State of California, in accordance with the authority vested in me by the State Constitution and statutes of the State of California, and in particular, Government Code sections 8567, 8627, and 8665 do hereby issue the following Order to become effective immediately:


  1. To preserve the public health and safety, and to ensure the healthcare delivery system is capable of serving all, and prioritizing those at the highest risk and vulnerability, all residents are directed to immediately heed the current State public health directives, which I ordered the Department of Public Health to develop for the current state wide status of COVID-19. Those directives are consistent with the March 19, 2020, Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response, found at: Those directives follow:

March 19, 2020

To protect public  health, I as State Public  Health  Officer  and  Director of the California Department of Public He a lth order all individuals living in the State of California to stay home or at their place of resid e nc e except as needed to maintain continuity of operations of the federal critical infrastruc tu re se c to rs, as outlined at . In addition, and in consultation with the Director of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, I may designate additional  sectors  as  critical  in  order  to protect the health and well-being of all Californians.

Pursuant to the authority under the Health and Safety Code 120125, 120140, 131080, 1201 30(c ), 12013 5, 12014 5, 120175 and 120150 , this order is to go into effect immediately and shall stay in effect until further notice.

The federal government has identified 16 critical infrastructure sectors whose assets, systems, and networks, whether physical or virtual, are considered so vital to the United States that their incapacitation or destruction would have a debilitating effect on security, economic security, public health or safety, or any combination thereof. I order that Californians working in these 16 critical infrastructure sectors may continue their work because of the importance of these sectors to Californian s’ health and well-being.

This Order is being issued to protect  the public  health of Californians.  The California Department of Public Health looks to establish consistency across the state in order to ensure that we mitigate the impact of COVID-19. Our goal is simple, we  want  to bend the curve,  and disrupt the spread of the virus.

The supply chain must continue, and Californians must have access to such necessities as food , prescriptions, and health care. When people need to leave their homes or  places  of  residence,  whether  to  obtain or perform the functions above, or to otherwise facilitate authorized necessary activities, they should at all times practice social distancing.

2) The health care delivery system shall prioritize services to serving those who are the sickest and shall prioritize resources, including personal protective equipment, for the providers providing direct care to them.

3) The Office of Emergency Services is directed to take necessary steps to ensure compliance with this Order.

4) This Order shall be enforceable pursuant to  California  law, including, but not limited to, Government Code section 8665.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that as soon as hereafter possible, this Order be filed in the Office of the Secretary of State and that widespread publicity and notice be given of this Order.

This Order is not intended to, and does not, create any rights or benefits, substantive or procedural, enforceable at  law  or in  equity, against  the  State  of California, its agencies, departments, entities, officers, employees, or any other person.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of California.