California tightens COVID-19 response, including indoor operations
Governor Gavin Newsom delivered an update on California's response to coronavirus, including closing indoor operations in multiple business sectors for watch list counties, as well as all operations of bars. California is following other states in tightening restrictions on social distancing, mask wearing and restaurants in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. The new restrictions nclude Los Angeles County and take effect immediately.
RESTAURANT, BAR, OTHER CLOSURES
The spread of COVID-19 across California is now happening at an alarming rate. Effective immediately, California is ordering indoor operations to close in these sectors in counties on its watch list, including Los Angeles County, to reduce the risk of spread:
- Wineries and tasting rooms
- Movie theaters
- Family entertainment centers
- Zoos and museums
The order applies to all 19 counties that have been on the state's county monitoring list for at least three days.
These orders will remain in place for at least three weeks.
The state also orders closure of all business at bars in those counties.
While they remain in operation, Governor Newsom said that the state is working with Native American tribes on adjusting the operation of casinos on tribal land.
All parking facilities at state beaches in Southern California and the Bay Area will be closed this coming weekend. In counties that close local beaches, the state will also close state beaches — this includes Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
Other state parks remain open, though measures remain in place to reduce visitation and limit overcrowding.
FOURTH OF JULY WEEKEND
The state is recommending that counties with mandatory closures cancel fireworks shows. Los Angeles had already done so. This weekend, the state recommends Californians not gather with people you don't live with. "We may be wearing those masks at the beginning of our time together," Mr. Newsom said, but he noted that masks are often put aside as gatherings continues. The state also recommends avoiding crowds this weekend, as well as while coronavirus continues to significantly affect California.
Officials acknowledged that enforcement is difficult, and that there would be problems if all 40 million Californians turned their backs on following public health orders. He also noted most of the enforcement won't be done by law enforcement, but by people watching out for each other.
California plans to enforce public health orders using multi-agency strike teams in six regions of the state, according to Mr. Newsom. Those teams will target non-compliant workplaces. The strike teams include Alcohol and Beverage Control, the Barbers and Cosmetology Board, CalOSHA, the Department of Business Oversight, the Department of Consumer Affairs, and the California Highway Patrol.
Counties have the right to choose not to enforce regulations, Mr. Newsom said, but the state plans to withhold their portion of $2.5 billion that was approved for county funding in the state budget signed yesterday if counties engage in "bad behavior."
LATEST CORONAVIRUS NUMBERS
There were 110 deaths of Californians in the last 24 hours, Mr. Newsom said. He noted that, despite some saying otherwise, there are still deaths happening due to coronavirus.
There were 5,898 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday, with a positivity rate of 6 percent over the past two weeks — 6.4 percent over the past week. It's also risen from 4.6 percent to 6 percent over those 14 days. The positivity rate peaked at 40.8 percent early in the state's testing. There were about 87,000 tests in the past day, though Governor Newsom said the state still needs to do more tests.
Intensive care unit admissions are also up from 1,119 to 1,617 over the past two weeks — a 47 percent increase. They are occupying 15 percent of the state's ICU beds. The state has 11,430 ventilators available in its system.
There have been 10,170 people here in California who will have completed their contact tracer training by the end of this week.