4 Southern California counties that reopened restaurants now lead COVID-19 surge statewide

Four of the first Southern California counties to reopen restaurants and bars for dinner now lead the state in overall rates of hospitalization for coronavirus, reports the LA Times. The newspaper says the numbers coming out of Orange, Ventura, Riverside and San Bernardino counties show a “dangerous increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations,” and that those areas are “primarily responsible” for an increase in overall cases. throughout the state. Meanwhile, Los Angeles is now the main center of the coronavirus outbreak in all of America.

Ventura County was one of the first to reopen more broadly as part of California Governor Gavin Newsom’s gradual approach, which began May 21. Orange County moved in a week later, opening in time for the long Memorial Day weekend after facing heavy pressure from constituents. to allow businesses (such as restaurant canteens) to reopen, and for people to leave their homes more widely. Orange County officials bowed to increased pressure just weeks later, rescinding a mandate for people to wear masks when they are in public, though Governor Newsom has ordered masks statewide.

“We are showing the first signs of beginning to lose this battle against COVID-19 in our county,” Ventura County Health Officer Dr. Robert Levin previously told the county Board of Supervisors, according to the Times. In Los Angeles, the county’s director of health, Dr. Barbara Ferrer, noted that the increase comes in part from increased social interactions in places like bars, restaurants, and private parties.

The instructions in Ventura County could be even more surprising: “Ventura County health officials have urged residents to enjoy reopened restaurants, which are governed by strict safety standards and social distancing, rather than throw parties. and other private events, “says the Times.

Los Angeles formally reopened its restaurants on May 29, as first reported by Eater. The bars reopened in much of southern California on June 12, and Los Angeles County followed on June 19. Restaurants and bars are expected to follow the multi-page guidelines set by city, county, and state officials, including things like operating at limited capacity, reducing surface contacts by removing items like reusable menus and condiments, and ordering that servers wear masks. However, a recent record by the Los Angeles Department of Public Health found that half of the restaurants visited for compliance did not adequately follow the guidelines.

In Orange County, several high-profile restaurants have closed after confirming COVID-19 cases among staff, as well as a prominent bakery in Los Angeles. In San Bernardino County, the owner of a popular apple-picking farm and restaurant stall refuses to comply with Newsom’s state mask-wearing mandate, saying customers can choose to wear one or not.