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Protesters rally in San Francisco, California, earlier this year.Justin Sullivan / Staff / Getty

CALIFORNIA, October 22, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The government of California has issued new COVID-19 restrictions limiting outside gatherings to no more than three households for a maximum of two hours and telling individuals to collect contact information for their friends and relatives for private social occasions.

“Gatherings that include more than 3 households are prohibited. This includes everyone present, including hosts and guests.  Remember, the smaller the number of people, the safer,” reads the  “Guidance for Private Gatherings,” issued by the California Department of Public Health on October 9. 

“The host should collect names of all attendees and contact information in case contact tracing is needed later.” 

The new California rules apply to private gatherings which the state defines as “social situations that bring together people from different households at the same time in a single space or place.”

“Gatherings should be two hours or less.  The longer the duration, the risk of transmission increases,” reads the guidelines. 

The new guidelines state that “All persons planning to host or participate in a private gathering” must comply with the guidelines which include collecting the information of guests “in case” contact tracing is required. 

The guidelines also state that households that interact with one another should be “stable over time” and that participating in “multiple gatherings with different households or groups” is strongly discouraged.

Indoor gatherings are banned, with the guidelines stating that “All gatherings must be held outside” and attendees can only go indoors to use the bathrooms. 

Attendees at private gatherings must also practice “physical distancing” and are required to wear a mask, with the exception being to “briefly” remove the mask to eat or drink.  

When it comes to having a private gathering in a public park, the same three household limit applies, “even if unrelated gatherings of other groups up to three households are also occurring in the same park or other outdoor space.”

“If multiple such gatherings are occurring, mixing between group gatherings is not allowed. Additionally, multiple gatherings of three households cannot be jointly organized or coordinated to occur in the same public park or other outdoor space at the same time – this would constitute a gathering exceeding the permitted size,” reads the guidelines. 

The timing of the new California restrictions comes shortly after the World Health Organization (WHO) changed course, saying recently that world leaders should stop lockdowns.

The new rules for the sunshine state follow a Twitter message from California’s Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office, which called for people eating out to take off their masks in between bites of food.  

Newsom has kept large parts of his state under some of the most extreme lockdown measures in the United States. 

According to government data, at the time of writing there have been just over 17,000 deaths associated with COVID-19 in the state, which has a population of 39.5 million.  

At the national level, government intrusion into private gatherings took center stage in remarks made by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the controversial top coronavirus adviser to President Donald Trump.

Fauci said last week that American families should consider “biting the bullet” in sacrificing their Thanksgiving holiday weekend this year because of COVID-19.