Newsom imposes curfew on most of California as COVID-19 cases surge

California has issued a "limited" stay-at-home order for all counties in the Purple Tier in the state's COVID-19 reopening metrics, which is more than 90% of the state.

The order will put a curfew in place for counties in the most restrictive tier from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily and will take effect Saturday, Nov. 21 and will remain in effect until 5 a.m. December 21.

During those hours, all non-essential work, movement and gatherings are prohibited.

During those hours, all non-essential work, movement and gatherings are prohibited.

While nonessential businesses must close by 10 p.m., restaurants will be permitted to offer takeout food and people can do some routine activities like walking the dog, California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said. They will still be able to get medical care, pick up prescriptions and take care of other essential needs.

Officials said overnight movements are more likely to involve social activities that bring increased risk of infection, particularly if people drink and let down their guard on precautions like wearing masks and staying a safe distance apart.

"The virus is spreading at a pace we haven’t seen since the start of this pandemic and the next several days and weeks will be critical to stop the surge. We are sounding the alarm," Newsom said in a statement Thursday. "It is crucial that we act to decrease transmission and slow hospitalizations before the death count surges. We’ve done it before and we must do it again."

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"We are asking Californians to change their personal behaviors to stop the surge. We must be strong together and make tough decisions to stay socially connected but physically distanced during this critical time. Letting our guard down could put thousands of lives in danger and cripple our health care system," said Dr. Erica Pan, the state’s acting Public Health Officer. 

On Monday, Governor Newsom announced that the majority of the state’s 58 counties, including all of Southern California, reverted back to the state’s most restrictive tier status. Those counties joined Los Angeles and 13 others already at that level, and together they account for 94% of the state’s nearly 40 million residents.

RELATED: Majority of California counties revert back to state's most restrictive tier

"We are sounding the alarm," Newsom said Monday as he announced the changes. "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 health care system and lead to catastrophic outcomes."

The dramatic rise in cases in November has come more rapidly than a spike in mid-June and could quickly surpass the peak of the hospitalizations at the time.

More than 11 million cases have been recorded nationwide as the virus surges almost everywhere. While California accounts for more than 1 million cases — the second-highest number in the U.S. — it is the nation’s most populous state with 40 million residents and ranks 40th in cases per capita.

RELATED: Stay up to date on all coronavirus-related information

Most states are seeing huge surges of coronavirus cases and imposing new restrictions. On Tuesday, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine ordered a three-week statewide curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. for most residents. Similar restrictions are being implemented by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown. The state will soon go into a two-week 'freeze' to slow the spread of COVID-19 after cases reached a record high.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.