California’s top health official acknowledged in a coronavirus briefing Tuesday that the state’s order banning outdoor dining and closing playgrounds in certain regions is an effort to encourage people to stay home and not a “comment on the relative safety” of eating on patios or using a seesaw.
Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency, said coronavirus transmission is now so extensive in the state that every nonessential activity carries a serious risk.
“The goal is really to keep people at home,” Ghaly said. “We have reached a point where COVID-19 is so widespread in California that just leaving the house is a risky behavior."
"Any mixing among households presents a risk of disease transmission,” he said.
Restaurant groups, lawmakers, parents and others have criticized the state’s latest attempt at curbing the coronavirus by shutting down a host of activities and businesses.
Ghaly’s comments came on the same day a judge tentatively ruled that Los Angeles County acted “arbitrarily” and without “rational” justification when it ordered all restaurants to stop dining service in outdoor parklets and patios.
Superior Court Judge James Chalfant noted, however, that outdoor dining in L.A. cannot resume because of the state’s separate, regional stay-at-home order.