California governor orders bars to close again following Covid-19 spike

29 June 2020, 11:57

Bars in California have been ordered to shut their doors again
Bars in California have been ordered to shut their doors again. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

California's governor has ordered all bars in a number of counties across the state to close with immediate effect after a spike in Covid-19 cases.

Gavin Newsom made the order yesterday for Los Angeles and six other counties to close bars to prevent any further spread of infection.

California has been experiencing a surge in new cases, with evidence pointing to high levels of community transmission.

Bars in Fresno, Imperial, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, San Joaquin and Tulare have been ordered to close, and bars in Contra Costa, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Stanislaus and Ventura "recommended" to close.

“We are actively monitoring COVID-19 across the state and working closely with counties where there are increased rates and concerning patterns of transmission,” said Dr Sonia Angell, the state’s public health director.

“Closing bars in these counties is one of a number of targeted actions counties are implementing across our state to slow the virus’ spread and reduce risk.”

This will be the first rollback of reopening in California.

The state's Department of Public Health has released guidance saying that “brewpubs, breweries, bars, and pubs, should close until those establishments are allowed to resume operation per state guidance and local permission, unless they are offering sit-down, dine-in meals. Alcohol can only be sold in the same transaction as a meal.”

It continued: “Bars are social environments where groups of people mix. In these environments alcohol consumption reduces inhibition and impairs judgment, leading to reduced compliance with recommended core personal protective measures, such as the mandatory use of face coverings and the practice of social and physical distancing.

"Bars are generally louder environments requiring raised voices leading to the greater projection of droplets. These factors present a higher likelihood of transmission of COVID-19 within groups, between groups, and among the workforce.”

Law enforcement agencies in Los Angeles have said they did not know about the decision prior to it being told to the public.

Officer Rosario Cervantes of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Media Relations Section told local media: “We just got the notice. But as of right now, we have not been given any guidance, which way. It’s breaking news.”

Los Angeles County officials have reported “significant increases” in coronavirus cases, hospitalisations and positive tests in recent days.

There were 2,169 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 23 additional deaths reported Saturday, bringing the state's total to 95,371 cases and 3,285 fatalities.

The Department of Public Health said that the seven-day average of daily new cases is more than 1,900, an increase from the 1,379 average two weeks ago.

There are 1,698 people currently hospitalised, which is higher than the 1,350 to 1,450 daily hospitalisations seen in recent weeks.