The lockdown is coming—and it could go into effect as soon as the conclusion of the weekend.

As expected, Gov. Gavin Newsom today announced a new “Regional Stay at Home Order.” For the purposes of the order, the state is being broken up into five regions, and the order will go into effect within 48 hours, for at least three weeks, when a region’s total hospital ICU availability drops below 15 percent.

The Coachella Valley is part of the Southern California region, which includes Imperial, Inyo, Los Angeles, Mono, Orange, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura and Riverside Counties.

As of this writing, the order has not been imposed yet. However, Newsom said Southern California and three other regions would likely fall below the 15 percent ICU threshold within days—and there’s a better-than-good chance the declaration for Southern California will come tomorrow (Friday). Add on 48 hours, and that would mean that by Monday at the latest, we’d be under the order for at least three weeks.

The good news: The order is nowhere near as restrictive as the March/April lockdown was. Retail stores can all remain open—but at a 20 percent capacity. Also, a lot of outdoor activities will still be allowed—including, it’s believed, outdoor gyms. (However, playgrounds will need to close, a fact which has already ticked off a lot of Los Angeles parents.)

The bad news: ALL retail will be limited to 20 percent capacity, meaning you may have to wait to get into a grocery store during peak hours.

The really, really, really bad news: Outdoor dining will be closed, meaning restaurants will be forced to either close or limp along doing just takeout and delivery. Hair and nail salons, barber shops and other personal-service businesses will need to shut down. Non-essential travel is not allowed, and “hotels and lodging” can be open for “critical infrastructure support only.” (I would THINK short-term rentals would count as lodging, but the order on the state website doesn’t specifically spell that out.)

In other words, unless you’re an essential worker, plan on staying home a whole lot for at least the rest of this month.

And now, a plea.

If you’re fortunate enough to still be working and/or be financially secure, I beg of you: PLEASE, PLEASE SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESSES AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE during the stay-at-home order. (You should ALWAYS support local businesses as much as possible, but it’s now more important than ever.) Get what you need at locally owned stores, not Amazon. Get takeout and delivery from restaurants that remain open, and TIP WELL. Use the delivery apps if that’s the ONLY workable option, because those app companies tend to take a hefty chunk out of a restaurant’s take; instead, do curbside pickup or use a restaurant’s in-house delivery service. And I repeat: TIP WELL.

Please. And thank you.

Read the story about the stay-at-home order by our partners at CalMatters here.

Read the Los Angeles Times’ story here.

Read SFGate’s story here, and the San Francisco Chronicle piece here.

Read NBC News’ story here.

More news from the day:

The Wall Street Journal today broke the story that Pfizer has had to halve its original vaccine roll-out numbers due to supply-chain issues. However, CBNC reports that the company still says it’ll meet the goals it has publicly announced.

• As expected, the U.S. Supreme Court has indicated California’s ban on religious gatherings runs afoul of (the current justices’ interpretation of) the U.S. Constitution. CNBC reports: “The justices, with no noted dissents, set aside a lower court ruling that rejected a challenge to Newsom’s policy by Harvest Rock Church Inc, which has several campuses in the state, and Harvest International Ministries Inc, an association of churches. Both are based in Pasadena, a city in Los Angeles County. The justices directed the lower court to reconsider the case in light of their ruling in the New York case.”

• There’s increasing optimism about the proposed $908 billion stimulus package—and also about avoiding a possible government shutdown. The Washington Post says: “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) spoke Thursday amid growing momentum for a targeted coronavirus relief deal, illustrating how Congress has snapped into action amid a surge in new cases and deaths. They also discussed reaching a deal on a spending bill to avert a government shutdown on Dec. 11. “We had a good conversation,” McConnell said after his discussion with Pelosi. “I think we’re both interested in getting an outcome, both on the (spending bill) and on a coronavirus package.

• The New York Times has a cute little interactive tool to determine when you’re likely to receive the COVID-19 vaccine compared to others. It’s quick, easy and kind of interesting.

• Related, sort of: Two experts, writing for The Conversation, explain what “emergency use authorizations” from the FDA are, and how they differ from conventional approvals—and what this all means regarding the safety of the new vaccines.

• Man, people suck sometimes. According to SFGate: “Wesley Moribe and Courtney Peterson, both 46, of Wailua, Hawaii, reportedly boarded a United flight on Nov. 29 despite having tested positive for COVID-19 and ‘placing the passengers of the flight in danger of death,’ according to the Kauai Police Department. They had a 4-year-old child in tow.” Wow. They’ve been arrested, thank goodness.

• Man, people suck sometimes, Vol. 2, is explained by this New York Times headline: “Young Republicans Stage Secret Gala, Ignoring Virus Concerns: At least 65 guests were expected at the New York group’s annual event, but its location was being kept secret because of fears of ‘violent left-wing attacks.’”

Warner Bros. announced today that all of its 2021 releases would be sent to theaters and a premium streaming service simultaneously. The Hollywood Reporter explains: “Warner Bros. is plotting a sweeping response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has shuttered movie theaters around the country. After announcing that Wonder Woman 1984 will go to HBO Max as well as theaters Dec. 25, the studio has laid out a similar path for its 2021 slate amid uncertainty about when moviegoing will get back to normal. The studio announced Thursday day-and-date releases for its 17-film slate, which will hit HBO Max for a one-month window that starts the same day they will be available in U.S. theaters.”

• I was again a guest on this week’s I Love Gay Palm Springs podcast. I joined Dr. Laura Rush and hosts John Taylor, Shann Carr and Brad Fuhr to talk about the impending lockdown, as well as other happenings. Check it out.

• Google is under federal scrutiny for allegedly being a mean and creepy employer. CNBC explains: “Specifically, the NLRB case documents accuse Google of illegally spying on employees, firing several employees in retaliation for attempting to unionize, and illegally blocking employees from sharing work grievances and information with each other using general tools like calendars, email, meeting rooms, and an internal communication tool at Google called MemeGen.”

As always, thanks for reading. If you value this Daily Digest and think it’s worth a few bucks, please consider clicking here to become a Supporter of the Independent. Stay safe—and support local businesses!

Jimmy Boegle

Jimmy Boegle is the founding editor and publisher of the Coachella Valley Independent. A native of Reno, Nevada, the Dodgers fan went to Stanford University intending to become a sportswriter—but fell...