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Governor’s stay-at-home order stirs controversy


BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET)— Kern County residents are getting used to the idea of spending the holidays indoors after Governor Gavin Newsom issued a stay-at-home order across the state on Friday. The state urges residents to stay in their homes between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. every night starting tomorrow. The initiative aims to slow the spread of COVID-19 by limiting social gatherings like house parties, which health officials say spread the virus. But not everyone thinks the state should tell residents to stay home.

“If someone is willing to give away their freedom for security, they should have neither,” said Ben Jernstedt, a Bakersfield resident. “Everyone has to make that decision. How much control are they willing to give away?”

The curfew comes as coronavirus cases spike in Kern County, with public health officials reporting 350 new cases today. For that reason, some say it’s a necessary sacrifice.

“I’m going to obey what they say, because it’s not just about me,” said Roger Gomez, a Bakersfield resident. “I don’t think that I can infringe my liberty on somebody else.”

Under the order, people can leave their homes after 10 p.m. to go to grocery stores, perform essential work and even order take-out. But local law enforcement has no plans to crack down on private gatherings.

“The sheriff’s office will not respond to calls for service simply because of large gatherings or large crowds,” said Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood.

New data shows more than half of coronavirus patients report they had close contact with a positive case before they got sick. The Kern County Public Health Department says staying home could save lives.

Michelle Corson: “Small gatherings have been a source of transmission,” said Michelle Corson, the Public Information Officer for the Kern County Public Health Department. “With the holidays upon us, the safest way is to not gather. At all.”

The stay-at-home order expires on Dec. 21. Until then, health experts say it’s safest to spend the holidays with people who live in your household.

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