Coronavirus: Newsom orders closure of bars in LA, 6 other counties

Citing the rapid rate of spread of the coronavirus in some parts of the state, Governor Gavin Newsom on Sunday ordered seven counties, including Los Angeles, to immediately close open bars and nightclubs and recommended that eight other counties act on their own. to close those deals. .

The decision, a sign of growing concern about new COVID-19 cases, was announced in a statement issued by the governor’s director of public health, Dr. Sonia Angell. Bars in seven counties are immediately affected by state order: Los Angeles, Fresno, Kern, San Joaquin, Tulare, Kings and Imperial.

State officials have asked eight other counties to issue local health orders to close bars: Contra Costa, Santa Clara, Sacramento, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Santa Barbara, and Stanislaus.

“COVID-19 is still circulating in California and in some parts of the state, getting stronger,” Newsom said in a written statement. “So it is critical that we take this step to limit the spread of the virus in counties that are experiencing the largest increases.”

The list of counties affected by Sunday’s order was based, state officials said, on daily reports of the virus’s spread. Counties that have been on the state watch list for 3-14 days are asked to close the bars. Those who were ordered to close local businesses have been on the state’s watch list for more than 14 days.

“We are actively monitoring COVID-19 across the state and working closely with counties where rates are highest and regarding transmission patterns,” Angell said in a written statement. “Closing the bars in these counties is one of a series of specific actions counties are taking across our state to slow the spread of the virus and reduce risk.”

Newsom’s decision contrasts with recent decisions to leave more decision-making authority to local officials. The governor has said additional sectors of the state may need to reduce openings, but has hesitated to make those decisions in Sacramento.

Earlier this month, the governor ordered all Californians to wear face masks while in public or high-risk settings.

The alarm about the increase in the number of cases extends throughout California, where state cases exceeded 211,000. Hospitalizations and infection rates are also on the rise, and officials cite several likely factors, including reopens, people having private social gatherings, and the recent protests over the death of George Floyd while in police custody.

Some officials are cracking down on teasing businesses while others are preparing to help overwhelmed hospitals.

On Friday, Newsom said he was recommending that Imperial County reinstate stricter orders to stay home, after he continued to report the highest per capita case rate of any county in the state, as well as the highest rate of positive tests. .

The county Board of Supervisors did not take immediate action to order the companies close, but local officials met with a state delegation Saturday to decide how to proceed.

In San Bernardino County, officials said many hospitals are getting closer to reaching “augmentation capacity” and that they are making plans to open alternative care sites for patients if the hospitals get crowded.

In San Diego County, the health department on Friday ordered an Escondido restaurant to be closed immediately, saying its owner refused follow public health directives imposed to prevent outbreaks of coronavirus. And Belmont Park, an amusement park in Mission Bay, was closed Friday afternoon by officials who said it was operating attractions in violation of state guidelines. The shutdown occurred the same day that county officials announced the increased number of diagnosed cases of COVID-19 in a single day.

Another day of huge increases in Los Angeles County coronavirus cases and hospitalizations prompted health officials on Saturday to warn that Los Angeles County is entering a “critical time” and that part of the decline in Orders to stay home is in jeopardy unless the trend changes.

Los Angeles County public health officials reported 2,169 new cases of coronavirus on Saturday.

“If we cannot find ourselves fulfilling these mandates, including wearing face covers and distancing ourselves when we are around others, we jeopardize our ability to move forward on the recovery journey,” said Barbara Ferrer on Saturday, county health director. statement. “Our collective responsibility is to take immediate steps, as individuals and companies, to reverse the trends we are experiencing.”