LOS ANGELES — Some of Southern California’s most iconic destinations were deserted Monday. There were no tourists trying to fit their palms into Marilyn Monroe’s handprints at the TCL Chinese Theatre, no shoppers on Beverly Hills’ Rodeo Drive and shockingly few cars on LA’s famously gridlocked freeways.
Gavin Newsom on Thursday became the first governor in the nation to order nearly all state residents to stay at home and most retail businesses to close their doors to stem the spread of COVID-19.
Under Newsom’s order, only “essential” services should remain open, including grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies, banks, certain state and local government functions — and, yes, cannabis retailers.
Newsom doubled down on his order Monday, ordering some state park parking lots to close after stir-crazy Californians thronged to parks, beaches and hiking trails over the weekend, making “social distancing” nearly impossible, even outdoors.
But about the same time Newsom was making his announcement Monday, large swaths of Southern California, California’s biggest population hub, felt empty.