LOS ANGELES — Gov. Gavin Newsom on Sunday ordered bars in Los Angeles County and six other counties to close to prevent further spread of the Coronavirus, as the state experiences a surge in new cases and evidence of rising community transmission.
Underscoring the warnings from the state, county officials released their daily Coronavirus update a few hours later, and it showed another 2,542 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 20 additional deaths, bringing the county’s totals to 97,894 cases and 3,305 fatalities.
“NEW: Due to the rising spread of #COVID19, CA is ordering bars to close in Fresno, Imperial, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, San Joaquin, and Tulare, while recommending they close in Contra Costa, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Stanislaus, & Ventura,” Newsom tweeted at 12:17 p.m.
“Californians must remain vigilant against this virus,” he added in a statement issued later. “COVID-19 is still circulating in California, and in some parts of the state, growing stronger. That’s why it is critical we take this step to limit the spread of the virus in the counties that are seeing the biggest increases. Each of us has the power to limit the spread of this virus. Wear a face covering and keep physically distant outside the home. Don’t gather in groups, and if you are older or have a condition that puts you at higher risk of COVID-19, protect yourself by staying home.”
Lancaster reported its 16th death Sunday — likely at Wellsprings Post Acute Center, which recorded its first fatality — bringing the Valley death toll to 51. Palmdale has 20 and Quartz Hill nine.
Palmdale climbed to 1,192 total cases, while Lancaster rose to 1,032.
The California Department of Public Health guidance says 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.”
The state’s news release says that “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.
“Public health professionals within California and throughout the nation have identified bars as the highest risk sector of non-essential business currently open. Beyond the higher risk of transmission in bar settings, contract tracing, a key measure needed to control spread, is also more challenging in bars because of the constant mixing among patrons and a lack of record-keeping of those in attendance.”
On June 5, the state posted guidance allowing for the opening of bars as of June 12, if their opening could be allowed by local public health officials.