Saida Maalin | Contributor
“Restaurants, wineries and tasting rooms, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, cardrooms, zoos and museums in counties on the state’s watch list for more than three days, including Riverside and San Bernardino, will need to close effective immediately.”
The fight to stabilize the spread of COVID-19 has forced Governor Gavin Newsom and California Public Health officials to announce new requirements for closure of bars and other indoor operations in multiple counties.
“Californians must remain vigilant against this virus,” said Governor Newsom
Health officials advise the counties who have been on the governor’s watch list for three days or more, should follow the advice to close down or to not open at all until other bars have been allowed to do so in the same county.
At this moment the 19 counties on the list for more than three or more days are now being mandated to close all bars.
The decision is the result of concerns over partygoers in bars who will become too impaired to follow regulations and are likely to not use face masks and practice social distancing.
On June 5th the state announced guidelines to allow bars to reopen by June 12 if their local public health official deemed it appropriate. As stated by Newsom, 19 counties have been closely monitored because they house the vast number of the state’s population.
If the counties have been on the County Monitoring List for more than three days then it is effective as of July 1st they close down all indoor operations. This means restaurants, wineries and tasting rooms, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, cardrooms, zoos and museums will need to close effective immediately.
“Indoor operations, this doesn’t mean restaurants shut down, it means we want to take as many activities as we can, these mixed and concentrated activities and move them outdoors,” said Newsom. “Which is a way of mitigating the spread of this virus.”
On June 28 the governor originally announced 15 counties on the watch list, which 7 of them were obligated to close down bars. The days have progressed and the state plans to continue moving forward in implementing more guidelines on indoor activities as well as beach activities on July 4 weekend.
“Let us protect our lives and address the seriousness to which we must address this pandemic and the recent increase in the transmission as well as deaths related to this disease,” said Newsom. “I say deaths because we lost 110 lives in the last 24 hours.”
Ventura and Los Angeles county have decided to close down beaches to the public on the holiday weekend. Newsom says the weekend raises a lot of concerns from health officials.
Many cities are locally determined to stop firework shows to continue to limit the spread, including Los Angeles and Ventura counties who have mandatory closures.
To enforce public health orders the state is issuing enforcement strike teams to target non-compliant workplaces and build relationships with local health departments and businesses. Some of these strike teams include: ABC, Dept. of Business Oversight, Dept. of Consumer Affairs, CHP and CalOSHA.
Counties on the list include: Contra Costa, Fresno, Glenn,Imperial, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, Merced, Orange, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Joaquin, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Solano, Tolare, Venture and Stanislaus.
“COVID-19 is still circulating in California, and in some parts of the state, growing stronger. That’s why it is critical we take this step to limit the spread of the virus in the counties that are seeing the biggest increases,” said Newsom.
Newsom also said we each have the power to limit the spread by following CDC guidelines to protect ourselves especially those who are older or who have underlying conditions.
“California is using data and science to guide our response to COVID-19. We are actively monitoring COVID-19 across the state and working closely with counties where there are increased rates and concerning patterns of transmission. Closing bars in these counties is one of a number of targeted actions counties are implementing across our state to slow the virus’ spread and reduce risk,” said Dr. Sonia Angell, State Public Health Officer and Director of the California Department of Public Health.
The rise of COVID-19 cases is troubling. Currently, California has over 217,000 cases, in the last 7 days the number of positive tests has increased. On June 23 California reported 7,149 new cases, the highest daily update since the pandemic began. On June 29 there were 6,367 new cases reported and on June 30, 5,898 positive cases were also reported.
“We all have our part in the fight against community spread of COVID-19. If you go out then remember, wear a face covering, keep your distance and wash your hands frequently,” said Angell.
Los Angeles County has seen a 36.8 % increase in the last 14 days and has the highest number of positive cases in the state. Riverside County has seen a 55.4% increase in the last 14 days, on June 29 the county reported 835 cases.
The goal is to continue to flatten the curve of the rising COVID-19 cases and by all means the state and local officials are working hard.
To find more information on County Data Monitoring visit https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/COVID19CountyMonitoringOverview.aspx.