California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered all bars to close immediately in seven counties across the state – including Los Angeles – citing a rapid spread of coronavirus in recent weeks.
Newsom’s decision to reinstate reopening efforts, which began just under a month ago, comes two days after Republican governors in Texas and Florida ordered similar closures in an attempt to stem a wave of COVID-19 cases.
The decision was announced by the governor’s state director of public health, Dr. Sonia Angell, on Sunday afternoon, just two weeks after the bars reopened in California on June 12.
The coronavirus has now infected over 2.5 million people in the United States and killed 1
Those terrible figures prompted Alex Azar, Health and Human Services, to warn that “the window is closing to allow us to act and keep everything under control”.
California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered all bars to close immediately in seven counties across the state – including Los Angeles – citing a rapid spread of coronavirus in the past few days
The seven counties immediately affected by the bar’s closing order are Los Angeles, Fresno, Kern, San Joaquin, Tulare, Kings and Imperial.
All the counties listed, except for Los Angeles, are located in Central Valley, which has seen a sharp rise in coronavirus infection rates in the past two weeks.
Eight other counties have been advised to implement similar closures, however they have not been ordered to do so at the moment. Among these counties are Santa Clara, Riverside and Sacramento.
“Californians must remain vigilant against this virus,” Newsom said in a statement. COVID-19 is still circulating in California and parts of the state, becoming stronger. That is why it is essential to take this step to limit the spread of the virus in the counties that are experiencing the greatest increases “.
The counties immediately affected by Sunday’s order were decided by daily reports on the spread of COVID-19, state officials said.
Counties that have been on the state checklist for three to 14 days are asked to close the bars. Those who have been on the checklist for more than 14 days are ordered to do so.
“We are actively monitoring COVID-19 across the state and are working closely with counties where there are higher rates of transmission patterns,” said Dr. Angell in her statement.
“Closing bars in these counties is one of several targeted actions that counties are implementing across our state to slow the spread of the virus and reduce risk.”
Governor Newsom’s order is the first major retreat in efforts to reopen California’s economy.
Newsom allowed bars to reopen in the state on June 12, but gave county health officials the authority to keep them closed for as long as they deemed appropriate.
The vast majority of California’s 58 counties subsequently allowed the bars to reopen, including Los Angeles which went ahead with plans on June 19.
California has released guidelines asking bars to maintain a social distance between customers, remove bar seats and lower the volume of music to mitigate the need to scream – which reportedly expels droplets at greater distances .
A Big Dean employee checks customers’ temperatures before leaving them in the bar and restaurant amid the coronavirus pandemic in Santa Monica, California
Earlier this month, Newsom also ordered all Californians to wear masks in public and in “high-risk environments”.
However, the photographs that emerged of bars and discos in the following weeks showed large crowds of people gathered without masks and standing in crowded rows without measures of social estrangement in place.
Several bars in Sacramento even shut down on their own after learning COVID-19 on their premises.
Statewide coronavirus cases exceeded 211,000, with nearly 6,000 deaths. Hospitalization and infection rates also continue to rise, with officials citing a range of lawsuits, including commercial reopenings and private meetings.
On Friday, Newsom said it was recommending that Imperial County implement stricter home return orders after it continued to report the highest per capita infection rate COVID-19 than anywhere else in the state, as well as the highest number of test.
The Imperial County Board of Advisors made no immediate decision to order businesses to close, a meeting with a state delegation on how to proceed was held on Saturday but no decision was made publicly when ordering Newsom on Sunday.
In San Bernardino County, officials have warned that its hospitals are rapidly approaching “surge capacity”, with plans to open alternative care sites if the infection rate continues as it is.
Similarly, in Los Angeles County, large increases in confirmed cases and hospitalizations have left Los Angeles at a “critical moment” in the fight against the pandemic, with orders to stay home now jeopardized if the current trend should continue.
Los Angeles County public health officials reported 2,169 new coronavirus cases.
“If we fail to find respect for these mandates in us, including wearing a face cover and distancing ourselves from others, we are jeopardizing our ability to move forward on the recovery journey,” said the health director of county Barbara Ferrer in a statement on Saturday. “Our collective responsibility is to take immediate action, as individuals and companies, to reverse the trends we are experiencing.”
The news allowed bars to reopen in the state on June 12, but gave county health officials the authority to keep them closed for as long as they deemed appropriate.
The vast majority of California’s 58 counties subsequently allowed the bars to reopen, including Los Angeles which went ahead with plans on June 19
The total number of infections has now exceeded 2.5 million in the United States. For a third consecutive day on Saturday, the number of confirmed cases in the United States increased by over 40,000, one of the largest increases in the world
Only two states, Connecticut and Rhode Island, reported a drop in infection rates on Sunday.
An increase in documented cases has been reported in a staggering 36 states, including Florida, that some experts are about to become the virus’ next epicenter, after reporting 9,585 new cases on Saturday and 8,500 others on Sunday.
Saturday’s total, a one-day state record since the start of the pandemic in March, rivals that of New York’s daily case spike in early April.
The new cases bring the statewide total to 141,075. Florida is reporting 3,419 coronavirus-related deaths, which is an increase of 29 since Saturday.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis insisted that there is nothing to worry about and “nothing has changed” in the past week, blaming the worrying rise in the state following a “test dump”.
And the inhabitants of the sunny state seem impassive, with the sharp increase in COVID-19 cases doing little to discourage thousands of people flocking to beaches across Florida.
Last Friday, bars across the state were ordered to stop serving alcohol. Under the ban, companies that collect more than half of their alcohol sales can still sell drinks on hand.
Another COVID-19 hot spot that has surfaced in the south since companies have been allowed to reopen in recent weeks is Texas.
The state set a record for coronavirus-related hospitalizations for the 16th consecutive day on Saturday, with 5,523 patients under treatment.
Despite the threatening statistics, hundreds of tubers have been seen floating in the immediate vicinity on the Comal River in New Braunfels.
As coronavirus cases increase in Houston, city paramedics say they face one-hour waiting times when transferring patients from ambulances to the hospital.
Statewide coronavirus cases exceeded 211,000. Hospitalization and infection rates also continue to rise, with officials citing a number of causes, including the reopening
Bars in Florida were ordered to stop serving alcohol on Friday. Under the ban, companies that collect more than half of their alcohol sales can still sell drinks on hand.
Houston fire chief Sam Peña told KHOU that transfer times doubled or tripled in some cases when the department grappled with spikes in calls for assistance and a shortage of first responders.
“How much longer it will take to handle those critical calls, it will cost us lives,” he told the news station. ‘Our system is making an effort.’
Coronavirus cases have skyrocketed in Texas since the beginning of June, with Houston emerging as the epicenter of the state.
Harris County, which includes the city, raised the COVID-19 threat indicator to the highest level last week, issuing an emergency alert that said the outbreak was “serious and uncontrolled”.
Intensive care units at the Texas Medical Center in Houston reached full capacity over the weekend and health officials reported record hospital admissions across the state.
Last week, hospital executives said they were ready to deal with the influx of patients by scaling back non-essential procedures to free beds.
However, Marc Boon, president of Houston Methodist Hospital has also urged the public to take action, to prevent the system from being overwhelmed.
“Now is the time for everyone to radically change their behaviors to keep this virus in check,” said Boom, “so that our hospitals for the coming weeks are there and able to manage it.”
Governor Greg Abbott issued a new executive order on Friday downsizing to the reopening of Texas after a significant increase in coronavirus cases. As of noon, bars and breweries have been ordered to close, with the exception of transfer services.
Governor Greg Abbott issued a new executive order on Friday downsizing to the reopening of Texas after a significant increase in coronavirus cases. As of noon, bars and breweries have been ordered to close, with the exception of transfer services
In a letter, the organization said: “We support our members in the constitutional right to protest by keeping your businesses open” (pictured: Kevin Shipp, Cedar Street Courtyard’s operating partner, closes his bar on West 4th Street in Austin , in Texas)
The move is said to have angered the Texas Bar and Nightclub Alliance which has said it will file a lawsuit against the state regarding executive order.
Abbott expressed regret for the premature reopening of the state to KIVA, insisting: “If I could go back and redo something, it would probably have been to slow the reopening of the bars”
As of Monday, restaurants, which had operated with 75% catering capacity, will also have to scale their operations down to 50%, following Abbot’s order.
“I ask all Texans to do their part to slow the spread of Covid-19 by wearing a mask, washing their hands regularly and socially moving away from the others,” said Abate announcing the measure. “The more we follow all these guidelines, the safer our state will be and the more we can open Texas for business.”
Abbott expressed regret for the premature reopening of the state to KIVA, insisting: “If I could go back and redo something, it would probably have been to slow the reopening of the bars.
“People go to bars to get close, drink and socialize, and that’s the kind of thing that fuels the spread of coronavirus,” he said.
But the move is said to have angered the Texas Bar and Nightclub Alliance which has said it will file a lawsuit against the state regarding executive order.
In a letter, the organization said, “We support our members in the constitutional right to protest by keeping your activities open.”
The letter called Abbott’s decision “irresponsible and shameful”, adding that members expressed anger at being forced to freeze their affairs while salons and restaurants are allowed to remain open.
TBNA has stated that it provides legal advice to all business owners fined, accused or who have suspended licenses for remaining open.