Holiday Season 2020: COVID-19 will be this season’s Grinch

The majority of California counties, including Tulare, are in the most restrictive tier starting November 17

California is experiencing the fastest increase in cases we have seen yet. (Governor Gavin Newsom)

The Grim Statistics: Since March 2020, more than 1.3 million people have died of COVID-19 worldwide, and the United States accounts for more than a quarter-million of those deaths, the highest of any country in the world. A surge in cases is being experienced across the U.S. with all 50 states experiencing an increase in COVID-19 cases. Holiday Season 2020

Hospitalizations set new records every day this past week, nearing 77,000 as of Tuesday, November 17. Nationwide, newly confirmed infections jumped by more than 80 percent over the last two weeks, nearing an average of 160,000 per day.

On Wednesday, November 18, there were 2,000 deaths in the U.S. (the highest number in six months) and 172,000 infections. Currently, 1 percent of the U.S. population is contagious with the coronavirus. Holiday Season 2020

Right now, more than 1,000 deaths per day are being attributed to COVID-19 nationwide, and a total of 11.3 million people have been confirmed to have the virus in the U.S. The average death toll is rising in 33 states.

And, despite all of the above, the holidays are fast approaching. This is when people travel and gather indoors and with multiple households more than any other time of year. But the wave of new cases has prompted governors and mayors across the country to issue mask mandates and new restrictions on public and other gatherings just before Thanksgiving while Gov. Gavin Newsom has issued a modified Stay at Home order for the state that begins this weekend. Holiday Season 2020

The Color Purple: State metrics created to control COVID-19 transmission place Tulare County in the purple tier (see chart below). There are business restrictions to accompany this tier placement (see end of article for list of business requirements), but compliance of the guidelines in Tulare County is not being enforced so some local businesses are complying with the restrictions while others don’t even enforce basic mask-wearing.

As COVID-19 cases sharply increase across California and the entire United States, Governor Gavin Newsom and state public health officials announced immediate actions on November 16 to slow the spread of the virus. Utilizing its Blueprint for a Safer Economy, the state now has 94.1 percent of its population in the most restrictive (purple) tier. Holiday Season 2020

Tulare County has been, and remains, in this category along with most of the Bay Area and all of Southern California. Twenty-eight additional counties have been moved back to the purple (most restrictive) tier, which renewed bans on indoor dining at restaurants and imposed other restrictions. The November 16 action will remain in effect until the State Public Health Officer determines it is appropriate to make modifications based on public health conditions and data. The state will monitor and reassess the data continuously.

School Daze: Tulare County Health and Human Services Agency and the California Department of Public Health approved the elementary school waiver for in-person instruction for Three Rivers Union School. TRUS students went back to school on Thursday, November 12. Holiday Season 2020

Middle and high school students ( grades 7-12) are not able to return to in-person learning until Tulare County drops down to, and remains in, the red tier for 14 days.

California Curfew: Due to the unprecedented, rapid rise in COVID-19 cases across California, Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced Thursday (Nov. 19) a limited Stay at Home Order requiring generally that non-essential work, movement, and gatherings stop between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. in counties in the purple tier. The order will take effect at 10 p.m. Saturday, November 21, and remain in effect until 5 a.m. December 21. This is the same as the March Stay at Home Order, but applied only between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. and only in purple tier counties that are seeing the highest rates of positive cases and hospitalizations.

California is also strengthening its face-covering guidance to require individuals to wear a mask whenever outside their home, with limited exceptions. Holiday Season 2020

“We are sounding the alarm,” said Governor Newsom. “California is experiencing the fastest increase in cases we have seen yet – faster than what we experienced at the outset of the pandemic or even this summer. The spread of COVID-19, if left unchecked, could quickly overwhelm our healthcare system and lead to catastrophic outcomes. Now is the time to do all we can – government at all levels and Californians across the state – to flatten the curve again as we have done before.”


The rate of growth in confirmed COVID-19 cases is faster than it was in July, which led to a significant peak in cases. This requires a swift public health response and action from all Californians to slow the spread of the virus. Immediate action will help protect individuals at higher risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19 and will help keep the state’s healthcare delivery system from becoming overwhelmed.

“The data we are seeing is very concerning” said California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly. “We are in the midst of a surge, and time is of the essence. Personal decisions are critical, and I am I imploring every Californian to stay home if they can, wear a mask whenever they leave their homes, limit mixing, practice physical distancing, and wash their hands.

California has taken steps to prepare the state for an increase in COVID-19 cases. The state has developed additional testing capacity to allow cases to be quickly identified, recently opening a new laboratory in Valencia that is already processing thousands of tests a day. The state is averaging 164,345 tests over the last seven days. Holiday Season 2020

The State has been working in partnership with hospitals, clinics and physicians on the COVID-19 response. To support California’s healthcare delivery system, the state has an additional 1,872 beds available at alternate care sites outside of the system that can be made available quickly if needed to respond to a surge in cases.

California will continue to update the Blueprint for a Safer Economy based on the best available public health data and science. For more information about the Blueprint and what Californians can do to prevent the spread of COVID-19, visit

Purple Tier Restrictions and Guidelines

  • Restaurants: Outdoor only
  • Hair salons: Open indoors with modifications
  • Retail: Open indoors at 25% capacity
  • Bars and breweries: Closed
  • Hotels: Open with modifications
  • Gyms: Outdoor only
  • Places of worship: Outdoor only
  • Schools: Must stay closed
  • Non-essential offices: Remote work only
  • Malls: Open indoors at 25% capacity; food courts closed
  • Nail salons: Open indoors with modifications
  • Electrolysis: Open indoors with modifications
  • Personal care services (body waxing, etc.): Open indoor with modifications
  • Tattooing and piercing: Open indoors with modifications
  • Museums, zoos and aquariums: Outdoor only
  • Movie theaters: Outdoor only
  • Wineries: Outdoor only
  • Family entertainment centers (mini golf, batting cages and go-kart racing): Outdoor only
  • Cardrooms: Outdoor only
  • Professional sports: No live audiences
  • Theme parks: Must stay closed Holiday Season 2020

Stay Safe. Save Lives. Wear a Mask.
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