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Gov. Newsom signs executive order limiting gatherings to 250 people or less

State public health experts announce that gatherings with 250 people or more should be rescheduled or canceled.

CALIFORNIA, USA — Governor Gavin Newsom has signed a statewide executive order which mandates that gatherings larger than 250 people should be canceled or postponed until at least the end of March. 

California state officials said non-essential gatherings must be limited to no more than 250 people, while smaller events can proceed only if the organizers can implement social distancing of 6 feet per person. 

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The governor's order:

  • Waives the one-week waiting period for people who are unemployed and/or disabled as a result of COVID-19;
  • Delays the deadline for state tax filing by 60 days for individuals and businesses unable to file on time based on compliance with public health requirements related to COVID-19 filings;
  • Directs residents to follow public health directives and guidance, including to cancel large non-essential gatherings that do not meet state criteria;
  • Readies the state to commandeer property for temporary residences and medical facilities for quarantining, isolating or treating individuals;
  • Allows local or state legislative bodies to hold meetings via teleconference and to make meetings accessible electronically; and
  • Allows local and state emergency administrators to act quickly to protect public health

How is California defining a "gathering"?

Any event or convening that brings together people in a single room or single space at the same time, such as an auditorium, stadium, arena, large conference room, meeting hall, cafeteria, or any other indoor or outdoor space.

Officials said essential gatherings should only be conducted if the essential activity could not be postponed or achieved without gathering, meaning that some other means of communication could not be used to conduct the essential function.

The governor's office said the state will continue acting swiftly to help workers hurt by COVID-19. Affected workers can visit the Labor & Workforce Development Agency’s website to review what benefits are available to them.

For more the most up to date information on COVID-19 and California’s response, visit the CDPH website.

In a national address Wednesday night, President Donald Trump proposed his own measures to ease the economic cost of the pandemic. Trump also sharply restricted passenger travel from 26 European nations to the U.S., and the State Department cautioned Americans to reconsider travel abroad. 

House Democrats are pushing an economic assistance plan to confront the spread of coronavirus. It would include free testing nationwide and emergency funding to reimburse lost paychecks for those in self-quarantine, missing work or losing jobs. 

The ambitious package should breeze through the House on Thursday, but Senate Republicans are likely to seek changes.

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