This week, counties across California will be allowed to ease some of the nation’s most stringent remaining pandemic restrictions.
Starting today, restaurants in Los Angeles County will be able to serve diners indoors for the first time in most of a year. Gyms, movie theaters and museums, which have all been shuttered or allowed to operate only outside, will at last be able to open their doors in L.A., as well as in Orange, San Bernardino, Sonoma and nine other counties moving from the state’s most restrictive purple tier to the second most restrictive red tier in the state’s color-coded reopening framework.
Another dozen counties are expected to meet the threshold for moving into the red tier on Tuesday, after the state loosened the rules in conjunction with an effort to vaccinate people in hard-hit, vulnerable communities.
[Here’s everything you need to get caught up on California’s reopening.]
On Thursday, President Biden marked the anniversary of the World Health Organization’s declaring of a pandemic.
the day that eight counties in Northern California ordered residents to shelter in place, as the real start to what would become our bewildering pandemic reality.
The move to shut down life for some nine million people was, at the time, the most ambitious experiment in America in containing the novel coronavirus. The restrictions were almost unfathomable. They were deeply disorienting, even in a state where natural disasters force residents to upend their lives with tragic frequency.
[Read about the day counties in and near the Bay Area ordered residents to shelter in place.]
Two days later, Gov. Gavin Newsom expanded the experiment, ordering all 40 million Californians to stay home.
The orders immediately raised many urgent questions for which Californians still don’t have full answers: How can you enforce an order to stay home? If you make exceptions for so-called essential workers, how do you decide who’s essential? How do you decide when it’s safe to let businesses reopen? How are people who don’t get paid time off supposed to pay their rent or buy food if their workplace is closed?
Still, looking back on the day that the Bay Area was ordered to shelter in place, it’s impossible to ignore how accustomed we’ve become to locked down life. The images of empty streets, empty shelves, masked pedestrians edging away from others on the sidewalk feel less shocking now, a year later.
the vaccine rollout across the country.]
Here are more images from the day the Bay Area shut down: