Calif. Officials Push Back on Newsom’s New Lockdown Order

'If lockdowns worked, this virus would have been stopped or controlled earlier this year...'

California officials are pushing back on Gov. Gavin Newsom‘s attempt to send the state back into lockdown.

Newsom announced new rules that take effect Saturday, which will require regions with increasing coronavirus caseloads to close hair salons, barber shops and movie theaters, ban restaurant service except for takeout and delivery, shutter playgrounds, and limit retail stores and shopping centers to 20% customer capacity.

The new stay-at-home order will last at least three weeks, cutting sharply into the most profitable shopping season and threatening financial ruin for businesses already struggling after 10 months of on-again, off-again restrictions and slow sales because of the pandemic.

“This means no income for the rest of the year,” said Lam Nguyen, who owns a nail salon in the Sacramento suburb of Citrus Heights. “I’m sad and scared, not only for myself but all my friends with nail and hair salons. A lot of us are in debt.”

Amy Lovece, a hairstylist who rents a chair at Salon 544 in downtown San Luis Obispo, said she already lost about half of her yearly income.

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“It’s sad that [Newsom] keeps closing us down. It’s unnecessary because salons are not the problem,” said Lovece, 56.

“For the ones who are following the rules, it’s just not fair,” she continued. “I just go between home and work. I don’t go to parties or bars and I just want to keep working.”

Newsom cited increasing hospitalization rates as justification for the new lockdown, which he claimed were designed to keep local health systems from collapsing under the weight of skyrocketing COVID-19 caseloads.

Previous restrictions were based on infection rates in counties. However, Newsom based the new restrictions on the hospitalization rates of each region.

Several officials have argued Newsom’s model is not accurate, and that it forces low-risk businesses to close unnecessarily.

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“The Governor has cited a lack of available ICU beds, increasing daily deaths, and increased positive cases for his most recent lockdown stunt. These claims are based on his opinion—not reality,” state Rep. Doug LaMalfa said in a statement.

“The truth is, the majority of ICU and hospital beds are being used by people getting elective surgeries,” La Malfa continued. “Yes, the number of positive COVID cases is rising, but the mortality rate continues to fall. These facts do not justify another lockdown of California. If lockdowns worked, this virus would have been stopped or controlled earlier this year.”

(The Associated Press contributed to this report).

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