(The Center Square) – Gov. Gavin Newsom placed a 10 p.m. curfew on counties recording higher number of COVID-19 cases using the state’s limited stay-at-home order, despite having a permanent injunction issued against him by a Superior Court judge from doing so.
The curfew affects counties in the state’s “purple” COVID-19 tier, part of the governor’s color-coded “Blueprint” for reopening the state. Purple indicates the most restrictions on which activities and businesses are permitted, according to the governor. Currently, 41 out of 58 counties fall in the purple tier.
The curfew announcement comes after Newsom was seen on video published by a local news channel attending a crowded birthday party for a lobbyist at the French Laundry, a $350-per plate restaurant in Napa, and after he continues to argue public schools must remain closed while his children have returned to their in-person instruction at their private school.
“As he ignores his own guidelines, Newsom still refuses to provide evidence they do any good,” Rep. Kevin Kiley, one of two state lawmakers who sued the governor and won, argues. “The California Business Roundtable has repeatedly asked him for actual data ‘that would show how business openings have affected COVID rates and transmission,’ and Newsom’s own Health and Human Services Secretary admitted opening schools hasn’t spread the virus.”
According to the New York Times, California is one of only a few states with the most severe business closures. According to CNN, California is one of only seven states with a school closure order.
“The good news is the Blueprint is susceptible to a legal challenge under our permanent injunction, which restrains the governor from making ‘legislative policy,’” Kiley adds.
Kiley and Assemblyman James Gallagher are preparing a new lawsuit based on the Superior Court’s ruling.
Newsom’s attorneys submitted a 73-page petition to the Appeals Court with four volumes of appendices, claiming the permanent injunction issued against him "calls into question vast swaths of the State’s emergency response" and threatens to invalidate "dozens of other executive actions."
The Appeals Court issued a stay on the Superior Court’s injunction, "pending receipt of opposition," which Kiley and Gallagher are filing presently.
San Bernardino County already announced it plans to sue the state over what appear to be unending restrictions – and that was before the curfew was announced. County supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to request county attorneys to prepare the potential lawsuit.
The governor’s “one-size-fits all” approach is not science-based, County Supervisor Janice Rutherford said.
“The temperatures are dropping, there is snow on the ground in some places, yet according to the governor’s orders, people are expected to eat outside. It’s ridiculous,” she said.
As of Tuesday, 14 of more than 70 communities in the county would qualify for a looser tier of the governor’s reopening plan (mostly small areas in the desert and mountains) if they were evaluated independently, instead of being grouped together, according to the county’s analysis.
Assemblymen Gallagher and Kiley are also working with counties to join forces on a “Healthy Communities Resolution” and reject the governor’s Blueprint and reopen public schools. Once the Legislature returns in a few weeks, Kiley says he will immediately introduce legislation related to issues the counties are facing.
According to the state’s database, there are roughly 1 million cases of COVID-19. Unlike other states like Texas, California does not report recovery data. The state also does not differentiate between deaths attributed solely to COVID-19 and deaths from other diseases or causes where the deceased also tested positive for the coronavirus.
According to the state database, 21.5 million people have been tested for the virus. Of them, the state is reporting 1,047,789 cases.
As a percentage of the state’s population of 39 million people, the number of cases represents 2.65 percent. The number of people who have reportedly died from the coronavirus as a percentage of the state’s population is 0.046 percent.