New stay at home requirements for counties in the purple tier
COVID-19 is increasing at alarming rates in California and we all need to do our part to stop the surge. As of November 21, 2020, it is required that all non-essential work and activities stop between 10PM and 5AM in counties in the Widespread (purple) tier. Read more in the limited stay at home order.
All individuals living in the State of California are currently ordered to stay home or at their place of residence, except for permitted work, local shopping or other permitted errands, or as otherwise authorized (including in the Questions & Answers below).
On March 19, 2020, an Executive Order (PDF) and Public Health Order (PDF) directed all Californians to stay home except to go to an essential job or to shop for essential needs. It was modified on May 4, 2020. On August 28, 2020 the State released the Blueprint for a Safer Economy to permit gradual reopening of certain businesses and activities.
As of November 21, 2020, Californians in counties in the Tier 1/Widespread (purple) tier are directed to stop non-essential activities between 10PM and 5AM. To find out if this order applies to your county, see the county map.
Questions and answers
The order went into effect on Thursday, March 19, 2020. The order is in place until further notice. It covers the whole state of California.
As of November 21, 2020, Californians in counties in the Widespread (purple) tier are directed to stop non-essential activities between 10PM and 5AM.
See the Blueprint for a Safer Economy for state restrictions in your area. Further local restrictions may apply.
The Governor has ordered Californians to obey the directives of the State Public Health Officer. Those directives take many forms; they include specific materials linked on this page, as well as these questions and answers. These questions and answers are directives from the State Public Health Officer, and have the same force and effect as other State Public Health Officer directives.
The risk of COVID-19 infection is still real for all Californians and continues to be fatal. That is why every business permitted to open should take every step humanly possible to reduce the risk of infection by following these state guidelines.
Yes. The State Public Health Officer may issue new orders as the public health situation changes.
This is a statewide order. Counties can have more restrictive criteria and different closures. See your county’s status.
The limited stay home order, which applies to counties in the Widespread (purple) tier, is in effect from November 21 to December 21, 2020. It may be modified or extended. Read more about California’s Limited Stay At Home Order on the California Department of Public Health’s website.
There has been an unprecedented increase in COVID-19 cases in California. Reducing movement and mixing between people is critical to lowering transmission, hospitalizations, and deaths.
As of November 21, 2020, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) requires that all individuals in counties in the Widespread (purple) tier be at home by 10:00 PM, and stay there until 5:00 AM the next day. Exceptions include, for example:
- Individuals going home or to their workplace
- Individuals getting medical assistance
- Those who work in critical infrastructure during these hours
- Unsheltered persons
Interactions during these hours are usually social in nature, and reducing those interactions helps reduce the spread of COVID-19.This advisory is in effect until December 21, 2020, though that may be modified or extended. Read more about California’s Limited Stay At Home Order on the California Department of Public Health’s website.
Yes. As described in more detail elsewhere in applicable state public health directives (including on this page), there are a wide range of circumstances in which you may leave your home or other place of residence, even if you are not an Essential Critical Infrastructure Worker. For example, you may leave your home to work at any business or other entity that is allowed to open, to engage in in-person worship and protest activities consistent with public health directives, to patronize local businesses, or to care for friends or family members who require assistance (as set forth under Health care). And errands like these are not the only reasons you may leave your home: you may also leave your home with or without a specific destination in mind (for example, to walk your dog, to engage in physical recreation, or simply to get some fresh air) as long as you maintain physical distancing and comply with any other applicable public health directives.
Yes, with modifications.
Gatherings are defined as events that bring together people from multiple households in one space, indoors or outdoors. That space could be as large as a park or as small as a private home.
Some private gatherings are permitted by the guidance for private gatherings. This guidance does not impact sectors that have their own guidance, such as protest, political rallies, cultural ceremonies, worship, and dining.
Private gatherings that are not covered by existing sector guidance are permitted with certain restrictions. Specifically, indoor and outdoor private gatherings are allowed in Substantial (red), Moderate (orange), and Minimal (yellow) tiers. Only outdoor private gatherings are allowed in the Widespread (purple) tier.
These requirements apply to private gatherings in all tiers:
- Wear masks and physically distance from other attendees.
- Limit gatherings to no more than 3 separate households attend (including the host’s).
- Do not attend if you have symptoms of COVID-19.
- Singing, shouting, chanting, cheering, or exercising is strongly discouraged at outdoor gatherings and not permitted at indoor gatherings.
Private gatherings should be two hours or less, and people with a high risk of severe illness are strongly encouraged not to attend.
First Amendment activities that are not already permitted by other guidance can take place in accordance with the guidance for private gatherings.
More information on private gatherings and the explanation for these restrictions is available from the California Department of Public Health.
Crowds and limited physical distancing increase the risk for COVID-19. If you attended a gathering, remember that confidential, free COVID-19 testing is available. If you test negative it does not mean that you may not develop COVID-19 later on. Therefore, it is advisable that you self-isolate for 14 days if possible.
Yes. Hair salons and barbershops are now open throughout the state with modifications for safety.
Yes, but only wedding ceremonies are allowed, not receptions. Wedding ceremonies should follow the guidance for Places of worship or cultural ceremonies. As required by that guidance, social distancing should be practiced by all attendees. Wear masks, wash hands frequently, and keep 6 feet from anyone you don’t live with.
Ceremonies have restrictions on their setting or capacity, depending on your county’s tier status:
- Widespread (purple) tier:
- Substantial (red) tier:
May be held indoors, but with max capacity of 25% or 100 people, whichever is fewer
- Moderate (orange) tier:
May be held indoors, but with max capacity of 50% or 200 people, whichever is fewer
- Minimal (yellow) tier:
May be held indoors, but with max capacity of 50%
While wedding receptions are not permitted, consider safer options like sharing your wedding online via video conference (Zoom, Google Meet, or other platforms). This protects all your loved ones, especially those at high risk like seniors or people with chronic conditions. See more details in guidance for Places of worship and cultural ceremonies.
They are being enforced, and you can report it. Report unsafe conditions or businesses that shouldn’t be open to your local Alcohol Beverage Control, Labor Commissioner’s office, or regional Cal/OSHA office, depending on the type of business. To find these local contacts, see Appendix B of the Employer Playbook for a Safe Reopening (PDF).
There are many ways for you to express your political views without holding a physical, in-person gathering. For example, you may continue to call or write elected officials, write letters to the editor of news publications, display lawn or window signs, or use online and other electronic media (including Zoom rooms, Twitter feeds, Facebook pages, and other digital forums) to express your views.
Additionally, as noted above, you may leave your home for any reason as long as you comply with any other applicable public health directives. When you are otherwise out in public, public health directives do not prevent you from engaging in political expression—such as by wearing or carrying a sign.
If collective action in physical space is important to you, consider whether you and other participants can safely protest from within your cars. The State Public Health Officer does not consider in-car activities to be gatherings, if participants stay in their cars and otherwise remain apart from individuals who are not part of their households. Many activists have organized car-based protests (honking horns, flying flags, displaying signs, and so on) to express their political views while complying with State public health directives.
Whenever you are considering a protest (including an in-car protest), make sure you comply with all other applicable laws, including any local public-health measures that may be more restrictive than statewide directives and any other applicable local laws.
If you do wish to engage in in-person protest outside of your car with a group of any size, you must follow the guidelines for political protest gatherings below.
Yes, although in-person protests and rallies present special public health concerns for high risk of COVID-19 transmission.
Even with adherence to physical distancing, bringing members of different households together to engage in in-person protests and rallies carries an especially high risk of widespread transmission of COVID-19. Such gatherings may result in increased rates of infection, hospitalization, and death, especially among more vulnerable populations. In particular, activities like chanting, shouting, singing, and group recitation negate the risk-reduction achieved through 6 feet of physical distancing. For this reason, people engaging in these activities must wear face coverings at all times.
Therefore, it is strongly recommended that those exercising their right to engage in political expression (including, for example, their right to petition the government) should utilize alternative channels, such as the many online and broadcasting platforms available in the digital age, in place of in-person gatherings.
However, state public health directives do not prohibit in-person outdoor protests and rallies as long as you maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet between persons or groups of persons from different households at all times. In addition, you must wear a face covering or mask. Local Health Officers are advised to consider appropriate limitations on outdoor attendance capacities, factoring their jurisdiction’s key COVID-19 health indicators. Failure to follow these requirements may result in an order to disperse or other enforcement action.
In counties in the Widespread (purple) tier, indoor protests and rallies are not currently permitted. In other counties, state public health directives do not prohibit in-person indoor protests and rallies as long as (1) attendance is limited as required by the relevant restrictions on places of worship and local health restrictions, (2) physical distancing of at least 6 feet between persons or groups of persons from different households is maintained at all times, and (3) singing and chanting activities are discontinued. Failure to follow these requirements may result in an order to disperse or other enforcement action. Masks and face coverings are required in compliance with CDPH directives.
Participants must maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet from any uniformed peace officers and other public safety personnel present, unless otherwise directed, and follow all other requirements and directives imposed by local health officers and law enforcement, or other applicable authorities.
This limitation on attendance will be reviewed regularly. This review will assess the impacts of these imposed limits on public health and provide further direction as part of a phased-in restoration of gatherings that implicate the First Amendment.
Elections are an essential activity. The Governor has issued executive orders to ensure elections are safe and accessible. Vote-by-mail ballots will be sent to all registered voters for the November 3, 2020 General Election. Most counties will provide three days of early voting in-person starting the Saturday before the election. Open ballot drop-box locations will be available between October 6 and November 3, 2020. Existing laws addressing the use of vote-by-mail ballots in California elections remain in effect except where suspended by Executive Order. Find guidance for the safe administration of elections during COVID-19.
Visit online voter registration to register to vote or check your voter registration status.
Practice physical distancing and follow other applicable public health directives while engaged in election-related activities. These include collection and drop-off of ballots, and collection of signatures to qualify candidates or measures for the ballot.
Yes. Practicing your faith is a constitutionally-protected activity and may manifest in many different forms.
Although in-person religious gatherings—like other in-person gatherings—have been restricted to prevent the transmission of COVID-19, on May 25, 2020, the State Public Health Officer began to ease restrictions on in-person religious gatherings. In particular, the State Public Health Officer now authorizes County Departments of Public Health to allow collective activities at places of worship, subject to conditions that support a safe, clean environment for employees, interns and trainees, volunteers, scholars, and all other types of workers as well as congregants, worshippers, and visitors.
Information on conditions imposed by the state can be found at guidance for places of worship (PDF). Additional conditions may be imposed by local public health officials. This guidance does not obligate places of worship to resume in-person activity. It is strongly recommended that places of worship continue to facilitate remote services and other alternatives to in-person religious practice for those who are vulnerable to COVID19.
Even with adherence to physical distancing, convening in a congregational setting of multiple households to practice a personal faith carries a higher risk of widespread transmission of COVID-19, and may result in increased rates of infection, hospitalization, and death, especially among more vulnerable populations. In particular, activities like singing and group recitation dramatically increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission. For this reason, singing and chanting activities must be discontinued at indoor services, and congregants engaging in group recitation should wear face coverings at all times.
Places of worship may only open indoor operations when permitted by relevant local restrictions and must comply with all applicable attendance limitations and guidance requirements.
Local Health Officers are advised to consider appropriate limitations on outdoor attendance capacities, factoring their jurisdiction’s key COVID-19 health indicators. At a minimum, outdoor attendance should be limited naturally through implementation of strict physical distancing measures of a minimum of 6 feet between attendees from different households, in addition to other relevant protocols within this document.
This limitation will be regularly reviewed by the California Department of Public Health.
The California Department of Public Health, in consultation with county Departments of Public Health, will regularly review and assess the impacts of these imposed limits on public health and provide further direction as part of a phased-in restoration of activities in places of worship.
Gatherings for live musical, theatrical, and other artistic performances are permitted outdoors subject to guidance that is being prepared by CDPH. Because such gatherings frequently involve the mixing of people from different communities creating a high risk of transmission of COVID-19, until that guidance is issued, such gatherings are allowed only in counties in the “Moderate” (orange) or “Minimal” (yellow) risk levels of the Blueprint for a Safer Economy. In addition, performances are permitted only if, in the exercise of their discretion, the relevant local or city health officer approves the precautions taken to ensure the safety of audience members, performers and others connected with the performance. Performances may have no more than 50 persons in the audience in counties in the “Moderate” risk level and no more than 100 in counties in the “Minimal” risk level. If a local or city health officer approves a performance, the officer shall notify CDPH of the approval within two business days.
During approved performances, all audience members and others not performing must wear masks, and audience members from different households must be spaced at least six feet apart when seated or otherwise viewing the performance. Performers who are not wearing face coverings must be at least six feet apart from each other.
Approval is not required for a live musical, theatrical, or artistic performance if, in aggregate, members of no more than three households attend, perform, or otherwise are involved in the performance.
It’s okay to go outside to go for a walk, to exercise, and participate in healthy activities as long as you maintain a safe physical distance of 6 feet and gather only with members of your household. You can also participate in activities at outdoor playgrounds and recreational facilities that are allowed to open. Parks may be closed to help slow the spread of the virus. Young people can participate in sports as permitted by the youth sports guidance (PDF). Adult recreational team sports are not permitted at this time. Check with local officials about park closures in your area. Californians should not travel significant distances for recreation and should stay close to home.
Below is a list of some outdoor recreational activities.
- Badminton (singles)
- Throwing a baseball/softball
- BMX biking
- Canoeing (singles)
- Exploring rock pools
- Gardening (not in groups)
- Golfing (doubles, only if cart has protective partition)
- Hiking (trails/ paths allowing distancing)
- Horse riding (singles)
- Jogging and running
- Kite boarding and kitesurfing
- Outdoor photography
- Picnics (with your household members only)
- Quad biking
- Rock climbing
- Roller skating and rollerblading
- Rowing (singles)
- Scootering (not in groups)
- Skateboarding (not in groups)
- Soft martial arts – tai chi, chi kung (not in groups)
- Tennis and table tennis (singles)
- Throwing a football, kicking a soccer ball (not in groups)
- Trail running
- Tree climbing
- Volleyball (singles)
- Walk the dog
- Wash the car
- Watch the sunrise or sunset
You can walk your dog. You can go to the vet or pet hospital if your pet is sick. Remember to wear a face covering and distance yourself at least 6 feet from other pets and owners.
State Parks, campgrounds, museums, and visitor centers may continue to be closed to help slow the spread of the virus. Starting June 12, some counties may open campgrounds and RV parks. Be sure to check parks in your area before you travel. Californians should not travel significant distances for pleasure or recreation and should stay close to home. If you do travel, take steps to keep everyone safe like wearing a face covering, keeping 6 feet of physical distance from those not in your household, and washing your hands frequently. See the California Department of Public Health’s Travel Advisory for more info.
You can walk, run, hike and bike in your local neighborhoods as long as they continue to practice physical distancing of 6 feet. This means avoiding crowded trails and parking lots.
Outdoor playgrounds may also open if they are operated by city, state, county, or federal government. Your local health department may have additional restrictions. Check your county’s COVID-19 website for information on playgrounds in your community.
For information on National Parks, please the National Park Service website.
Stay in your county if you can. Don’t drive more than 2-3 hours. The California Department of Public Health has issued a Travel Advisory encouraging Californians to avoid non-essential travel.
You can travel for urgent matters or if such travel is essential to your permitted work. Even though businesses around the state are opening up, avoid traveling long distances for vacations or pleasure as much as possible. This is to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Do not travel if you are sick, or if someone in your household has had coronavirus in the last two weeks. Do not travel with someone who is sick.
You should check with the local health department where you are starting from, along your route, and at your planned destination for information. Know that local rules are constantly changing and may change even after you start your trip. Check for travel updates before you leave your home.
Before traveling away from your community, consider these questions from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) travel guidance:
- Is coronavirus spreading where you are traveling?
- Are you or those you are traveling with more likely to get very sick from coronavirus?
- Will you be able to keep 6 feet of physical distance from others during or after your trip?
If you do travel out of state, when you return, you should practice self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival. You should also limit your interactions to your immediate household. This recommendation does not apply if you cross state or country borders for essential travel.
To prevent further spread of COVID-19, Californians should not travel significant distances and should stay close to home as much as possible. See the California Department of Public Health’s Travel Advisory for more info.
Stay in your county if you can. Don’t drive more than 2-3 hours.
There are currently no restrictions for entering California if you are coming from another state in the U.S., but California, along with Washington and Oregon, have issued a Travel Advisory for Non-Essential Travel.
If you arrive in California from other states or countries, including returning California residents, you should practice self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival. You should also limit your interactions to your immediate household. This recommendation does not apply if you cross state or country borders for essential travel.
Californians are encouraged to stay home or in their region and avoid non-essential travel to other states or countries. Avoiding travel can reduce the risk of virus transmission and bringing the virus back to California.
The federal government has placed restrictions on certain international travelers. With specific exceptions, foreign nationals who visited certain countries during the past 14 days are prohibited from entry to the United States. All travelers should take safety precautions when considering traveling.
- Do not travel if you have been sick in the past 14 days or if you live with someone with COVID-19.
- Do not travel with someone who is sick.
- Wear a mask in public.
- Wash your hands.
- Keep 6 feet from and be masked around anyone you do not live with.
For more information, review the California Department of Public Health’s Travel Advisory.
Outdoor swimming pools are allowed to open in all counties in California. Outdoor pools must close slides, rides, or other attractions.
Indoor swimming pools are closed in counties in the Widespread (purple) or Substantial (red) tiers.
Water parks, both indoor and outdoor, remain closed throughout the state.
When out of the water, masks or face coverings should be worn. Physical distancing should be practiced at all times. Group gatherings are not allowed. Bring your own towel, and don’t share items that are worn on the face (like goggles, nose clips, or snorkels). Pool operators should follow heightened cleaning and safety guidance in response to COVID-19. See sector guidance for gyms and fitness centers and campgrounds and outdoor recreation.
Yes, but first check if an in-person visit is required. Several deadlines have been extended, and many DMV services can be accessed online.
DMV has extended deadlines for:
- Drivers 70 years of age and older with licenses expiring between March 1 through December 31, 2020. Your license is valid for one year from the original expiration date. Drivers in this age group can also renew their driver’s license by mail.
- Drivers 69 years of age and younger with licenses expiring between March 1 through July 31, 2020. Though the extension has now expired, you can renew your license online. An in-person visit is not required.
- Expiring commercial licenses, endorsements, and certificates. They are valid through September 30, 2020.
- In-person renewals for vehicle registrations that expire between the dates of March 16, 2020, and May 31, 2020.
- In-person renewals for those with safe driving records whose last DMV visit was 15 years ago.
- Driver license permits expiring between March and November 2020. They are extended six months or to a date 24 months from the date of application, whichever is earlier.
- Commercial learner’s permits expiring between March and September 2020. They are now valid through September 30, 2020.
DMV offers many services that can be handled online, including simple vehicle registration, renewing a driver’s license, getting a duplicate license, and more. See:
Some DMV services that used to require an in-person office visit can now be accessed online, including driver’s license renewals, vehicle registrations, title transfers, temporary driver’s license extensions, commercial driver’s license renewals, and more. See:
Beginning June 11, all DMV offices are open to the public for appointments that require an in-person visit. You will be required to wear a mask and must remain 6 feet apart in line.
In-person appointments are limited to:
- Paying registration for a vehicle impounded because of registration-related issues
- Reinstating a suspended or revoked driver license
- Applying for a reduced-fee or no-fee identification card
- Processing commercial driver license transactions
- Applying for a disabled person parking placards
- Adding an ambulance certificate or firefighter endorsement to a driver license
- Verifying a transit training document to drive a transit bus
- Processing DMV Express customers for REAL ID transactions, if time and space allows
- Behind-the-wheel driving tests
- On June 26, the DMV began behind-the-wheel driving tests. All cancelled driving test appointments will be rescheduled. New tests will not be available until all cancelled appointments are completed.
- For the health and safety of drivers and DMV staff, you must wear a face covering and will have your temperature checked before the test.
It depends. Some smog check locations may be closed. The Bureau of Automotive Repair advises drivers to still pay DMV vehicle registration fees to avoid any late fees. However, you will not receive your new registration or year sticker until the smog information has been received by DMV. Once state and local orders or directives are no longer in effect, you can then obtain the required smog check certificate to complete the DMV vehicle registration process.