Empty store shelves. Empty churches. Shuttered classrooms and courts. Warnings everywhere to wash hands and avoid close contact. Even cancelled state Senate hearings. Efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus in California are affecting virtually every facet of life in the Sunshine State in ways big and small — and in some cases, surreal. Popular restaurants were desperate for patrons, and typically crowded gyms had plenty of floor space. Some stores limited sales of toilet paper and other goods to combat hoarding. The phrase “social distancing” — simply, keeping away from other people to prevent the spread of the illness — was suddenly part of everyday conversation. Thousands of people were being urged to work from home, if possible, rather than coming into the office. And health officials were repeating the mantra: “Don’t touch your face!” With the COVID-19 virus outbreak declared a world pandemic, Californians were abandoning their laid-back image as governments and businesses rushed to put measures in place to reduce its spread, ranging from bans on large group gatherings to information campaigns. Beginning Saturday, more than 700 electronic highway signs will display new public health warnings, according to the California Department of Transportation. The signs will


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