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Diners eat on the patio at Fish Camp in Huntington Beach, California. Photo: Jeff Gritchen/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Monday lifted stay-at-home orders across the state, saying "we're seeing a flattening of the curve."

Why it matters: The move, welcomed by many businesses, surprised some health care officials who fear lifting the restrictions may reverse the progress made in reducing the number of cases and hospitalizations, per AP.

The big picture: Newsom announced the criteria for implementing the regional stay-at-home order in early December amid a surge in cases and ICU hospitalizations. The order was triggered when a region dropped below 15% ICU capacity.

  • Officials said Monday that data models forecast all regions will exceed the 15% threshold four weeks from now, and therefore would meet the criteria to exit the order, per the Los Angeles Times.
  • Counties will now move back to a colored tier system that assesses local risk levels based on case numbers and positivity rates, the L.A. Times reported.
  • Overnight curfews have also also canceled.
  • The Southern California, Bay Area and San Joaquin Valley regions, which were under regional stay-at-home orders, could begin to reopen some businesses unless local officials impose stricter restrictions.
  • Officials in several areas, including L.A. County and San Francisco, said they would begin to reopen salons and allow restaurants to resume outdoor dining.

What he's saying: "Today, we can lay claim to starting to see some real light at the end of the tunnel as it relates to case numbers," Newsom said at news conference Monday.

  • "Everything that should be up is up, everything that should be down is down — case rates, positivity rates, hospitalizations, ICUs," he continued.
  • "Each region’s a little bit different, but we are in a position projecting four weeks forward with a significant decline in the case rates, positivity rates."

Yes, but: Cases and "hospitalizations are beginning to decline across the state. But compared to when [Newsom] established the stay-at-home order framework..., total confirmed cases have more than doubled, daily confirmed cases have increased, the seven- and 14-day positivity rates are higher and ICU capacity is lower in each region of the state except Northern California," the L.A. Times notes.

By the numbers: California recorded 27,007 new COVID-19 cases on Monday and 328 new deaths, according to the state's dashboard.

Go deeper

Updated Mar 2, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director warns "now is not the time" to lift COVID restrictions — Exclusive: Teenagers' mental health claims doubled last spring.
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  3. Vaccine: J&J CEO "absolutely" confident in vaccine distribution goals — Vaccine hesitancy is shrinking.
  4. World: China and Russia vaccinate the world, for now.
  5. Energy: Global carbon emissions rebound to pre-COVID levels.
  6. Local: Florida gets more good vaccine newsMinnesota's hunger problem grows amid pandemic — Denver's fitness industry eyes a pandemic recovery.
Jan 30, 2021 - World

Germany to impose travel restrictions to curb spread of coronavirus variants

Border police officers check passports and COVID-19 tests at Frankfurt Airport. Photo: Thomas Lohnes via Getty Images

Germany announced Friday that it was imposing new travel restrictions in an effort to curb the spread of more contagious coronavirus variants.

Details: All non-German residents traveling from countries deemed "areas of variant concern," including the United Kingdom, South Africa, Portugal, Ireland, Brazil, Lesotho and Eswatini, will be banned from entering the country, even if they test negative for the coronavirus.

Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

Americans increasingly see China as an enemy

One in three Americans, and a majority of Republicans, now view China as an enemy of the United States, according to a new survey from Pew Research Center.

By the numbers: Just 9% of Americans consider China a "partner," while 55% see Beijing as a "competitor" and 34% as an "enemy."