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COVID-19: California’s shelter-in-place order, explained

An Oakland restaurant's dining room sits empty. To help curb the spread of the coronavirus, only takeout and delivery services are permitted in California. (Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters)

As President Donald Trump considers easing national restrictions by Easter, Californians are into their first week of an official shelter-in-place directive to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered Californians to stay home except for essential services, leading many to wonder: What’s essential?

That’s a long list. And some counties have tighter rules. This video explains what the shelter-in-place order means for Californians, why it could slow the spread of infection and what powers Newsom has to force Californians to stay home.

“There’s a social contract here,” Newsom said. “People will self-regulate their behavior; they’ll begin to adjust and adapt as they have been quite significantly.”

But while some Californians have played by the rules, others have ignored them, forcing even more restrictions. Photos of packed state beaches last weekend spurred the closure of parking lots at all state beaches and parks. Campgrounds were already closed.

Get the latest on coronavirus in California with our frequently asked questions, dashboard tracking the numbers and our latest updates.

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