Gov. Newsom abruptly lifts COVID restrictions. Epidemiologist says to be extra cautious

At Janga by Derrick's Jamaican Cuisine in Culver City, chairs sit on top of patio tables, January 21, 2021. Like other restaurants in the LA area, this one was forced to suspend sit-down dining in mid-December 2020 due to coronavirus. But starting January 29, 2021, area restaurants will be allowed to serve customers outdoors again. Photo by Amy Ta/KCRW

Governor Gavin Newsom on Monday canceled the statewide stay-at-home order he put in place last month because of surging COVID-19 cases. Newsom says he looked at projections that ICU capacity will soon be above 15% in some parts of the state. His move clears the way for restaurants to open outdoor dining and salons to offer limited indoor services.

“We are at a very critical moment here,” says UCLA epidemiology professor Anne Rimoin. “We're reaping some of the fruits of our hard labor. But I think if we start to ease up on our restrictions, we could very easily be tipping back over the edge in a short time period.”