Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Wednesday ordered residents to stay in their homes, with some exceptions, or face fines and jail time.
All public and private gatherings of any number of people from more than one household are prohibited, except for outdoor faith-based services and outdoor protests.
All travel, including travel on foot, bicycle, and scooter, is prohibited.
Only people participating in so-called essential activities are exempt from the order. Those activities include all health care operations, grocery stores, and all media outlets.
Businesses deemed non-essential are being ordered to close to the public.
Failure to comply with the order will be considered a misdemeanor and subject to fines and imprisonment. The mayor said he was urging both the Los Angeles Police Department and the city's attorney to vigorously enforce the order. The department told The Epoch Times via email: "The orders of social distancing and stay at home, in and of itself, will not be a basis for detention. LAPD will be following the guidelines issued by the Mayor's office with regards to social distancing/stay at home."
"In those rare instances when we contact someone not following the guidelines, officers will speak with those individuals and educate them on the guidelines established by the mayor. In those events where officers are unable to gain voluntary compliance, a supervisor will be requested to assist. Under extreme circumstances where voluntary compliance can't be obtained, a 'Request for Complaint' will be completed and forwarded to the City Attorney's Office for filing," it added.
They mayor also reiterated that people who fail to comply may see their utilities shut off, which has happened in the city this year.
Residents said they received text messages and email alerts notifying them of the new order.
Los Angeles County, which has 10 million residents, recorded 2,439 COVID-19 patients in hospitals as of Dec. 2.
In a press conference on Wednesday, Garcetti, an adviser to Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, told residents to cancel everything.
"My message couldn't be simpler. It's time to hunker down. It's time to cancel everything. And if it isn't essential, don't do it. Don't meet up with others outside your household. Don't host a gathering, don't attend a gathering, and follow our targeted safer-at-home order. If you're able to stay home, stay home," he said.
He said he announced the order because of a rising number of COVID-19 cases in the city.
"In the last month alone, since early November, our daily infections have tripled. Our hospitalizations have more than tripled and are at a new peak. And our deaths have nearly doubled, and they continue to rise," he said.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, anyone 17 or older entering Los Angeles must acknowledge reading and understanding the state's travel advisory. They face a fine of up to $500 if they don't sign and submit a form saying so.
Most patients show few or no symptoms. A small percentage die.