California Reverses Course on Indoor Dining in Multiple Counties
With the U.S. hitting at all-time high in newly reported COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, states across the country are rethinking and reversing their phased reopening plans, including those for bars and restaurants. Yesterday, California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered restaurants in 19 counties to end indoor dining services immediately. The restriction, which also applies to wineries, movie theaters, and other indoor businesses, will remain in place for at least the next three weeks as the continuing spread of the coronavirus is assessed. At restaurants, outdoor dining and patio services may continue where available, however, bars and breweries in the 19 affected counties must close completely to both indoor and outdoor operations.
The 19 counties are Contra Costa, Fresno, Glenn, Imperial, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, Merced, Orange, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Joaquin, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Solano, Stanislaus, Tulare, and Ventura. Regardless of the state mandate, some counties had opted not to open the newly restricted businesses anyway. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Newsom has indicated that mandatory closures of more counties, including four in the Bay Area, could be imminent.
The move from Newsom comes just days after the state forced multiple counties in California to shutter their bars again, citing the establishments as likely hotbeds for transmission of the virus. And in Orange County, specifically, there were reports of reopened restaurants closing their doors once again to clean and sterilize after employees tested positive for COVID-19.
California isn't alone in readjusting its reopening strategy. Yesterday, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the state's most populous city would be indefinitely postpone its plan to allow indoor dining beginning on July 6, however much of the rest of the state will continue to allow such services. Additionally, states with recent major spikes in coronavirus cases, including Arizona, Texas, and Florida, have opted to re-close bars within the past week.