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'Stay Home,' Californians Are Told By Governor As Coronavirus Spreads

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom, seen on Tuesday, ordered Californians on Thursday night to stay home except for groceries and the like, to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Rich Pedroncelli, AP

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, seen on Tuesday, ordered Californians on Thursday night to stay home except for groceries and the like, to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The nation's most-populated state is telling its residents to stay home except for essential travel. California Gov. Gavin Newsom made the announcement Thursday night, saying that more than half of the state's 40 million residents could become infected by the coronavirus if efforts aren't taken to slow its spread.

The order is the strongest statewide restriction in the country, but it exempts essential travel to grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations and will rely heavily on "social pressure" for enforcement, Newsom says.

"We are confident that the people of the state of California will abide by it and do the right thing and meet this moment," he says.

The move follows similar restrictions in the Bay Area.

There were roughly 1,000 cases of the coronavirus in the state as of Thursday evening. In a letter to the federal government requesting assistance, the state estimated that without mitigation more than 22 million people could be infected over the next eight weeks.

State officials hope the stay-at-home restrictions will slow the virus' spread and prevent that scenario. They will be in effect indefinitely.

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