- Currently, COVID-19 restrictions in California are some of the strictest in the country as the state tries to stop the spread of the virus
- Governor Gavin Newsom has said Martial Law could be used “if we feel the necessity”
- On Thursday, a statewide stay at home order put in effect for an indefinite amount of time
Current COVID-19 restrictions for California are some of the strictest in the country, causing many to ask if the country is headed towards Martial Law. Governor Gavin Newsom has said Martial Law could be used “if we feel the necessity.”
Conspiracy theorists have flooded the Web with misinformation about Martial Law since COVID-19 restrictions began around the globe. Martial Law is the act of suspending civil laws and placing a military force charge. In 1866, a U.S. Supreme Court decided Martial Law could only be justified during battlefield conditions or if the United States is invaded.
Martial Law has been very rarely used in America but California is no stranger to using the National Guard to help enforce the law. In 1992, 2,000 California Army National Guard soldiers were requested bt then-Governor Pete Wilson during the L.A. riots. In 1969, then-Governor Ronald Reagen declared a state of emergency and sent 2,200 National Guard Soldiers to stop student protests against the Vietnam War at Berkley. Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore said they are not yet using the National Guard for operations.
On March 4, Newsom proclaimed a State of Emergency for California as a “result of the threat of COVID-19.” Newsom ordered all residents to follow the State public health directives which were developed by the Department of Public Health. On March 19, that State of Emergency would evolve into a stay at home order from Newsom. Other sectors were also being considered to be designated as critical to “protect the health and well-being of all Californians.
The stay home order will remain in effect until further notice. The federal government has identified 16 critical infrastructure sectors “whose assets, systems, and networks, whether physical or virtual, are considered so vital to the United States that their incapacitation or destruction would have a debilitating effect on security, economic security, public health or safety, or any combination thereof.” Californians that work in one of these 16 sectors will be allowed to continue their work.
“The supply chain must continue,” the order read. Californians will continue to have access to necessities such as food, prescriptions, and health care but are urged to practice social distancing if they must leave their residence for authorized necessary activities. Healthcare delivery systems shall prioritize services by serving those who are the sickest. The Office of Emergency Services has been directed to take necessary steps to “ensure compliance” with the March 19 Order.
Essential services remaining open in California include gas stations, pharmacies, grocery stores, farmer’s markets, food banks, convenience stores, takeout restaurants, banks, and laundromats. Essential state and local government functions will remain open along with some law enforcement and offices that provide government programs and services.
The Order is statewide, meaning it does not nullify stricter orders on a local level but it also cannot be lessened by a local government. State and federal deadlines for taxes have been extended to July 15. Below is a list of what workers are considered critical infrastructure workers.