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California Orders The Reclosure Of Establishments Due To The Rise Of COVID-19

Gyms, hair salons, malls, houses of worship and more ordered to close again by Gov. Newsom.

The governor of the state, Gavin Newsom, announced on Monday that different establishments, including restaurants, movie theaters, museums and zoos, among others, should close their doors indoors due to the outbreak of COVID-19 cases.

“We are returning to a modified mode of our order to stay home,” Newsom said at a virtual press conference.

“The Covid 19 cases continue to expand at alarming rates. California is now shutting down operations across the STATE for: Restaurants, Vineyards, Movie Theaters, Family Entertainment, Zoos, Museums, Card Rooms. Bars must close ALL operations. ” the governor tweeted.

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The order is effective from this Monday, Newsom explained at a press conference. They also won’t be able to open the temples and gyms of a number of counties where 80 percent of the state’s population resides.

California restaurants such as Fabian Nahui’s Peruvian establishment in Los Angeles must close their indoor operations. Gov. Gavin Newsom reimposed the restrictions on indoor businesses, citing an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the state. Copyright Jae C. Hong / AP

The California Department of Public Health has reported this Monday of 8,358 new cases of coronavirus and 23 deaths in the last 24 hours accounted for a total of 329,162 positives and at least 7,040 deaths.

The United States has recorded 3,332,685 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection, 135,379 deaths, and 1,006,326 recovered patients, according to the Johns Hopkins University of Baltimore count.

Just weeks after reopening in Monterey County, fitness centers, hair salons, nail salons, tattoo parlors, offices in non-essential sectors, places of worship and malls have been ordered shut again by Gov. Gavin Newsom, as of today, July 13.

“We continue to see an increase in hospitalizations in the state, a modest increase in the use of the ICU and the number of beds,” said the governor, who also highlighted an increase in the positivity rate of 20%.

In addition, this order follows the announcement of the Los Angeles and San Diego school districts to keep schools closed and start the year with a virtual remote model.

Newsom said during a press conference that he’s making the move in the wake of an increase in Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations around the state. The order impacts 30 counties in the state that have been on the monitoring list for three days or more, including Monterey County , which first went on the list on July 2.

In the last 14 days, the state has seen an increase of 109,910 positive cases, out of 329,162 total since the start of the pandemic, and 1,104 deaths (out of 7,040 since the start of the pandemic), according to the state’s Covid-19 website. In that same time period, California has experienced a 27.8-percent increase in hospitalizations and a nearly 20-percent increase in intensive care patients.

Between June 29 and July 12, Monterey’s confirmed cases have increase by 748, out of a total of 2,790, according to the county Health Department’s Covid-19 data page . Hospitalizations in Monterey County rose by eight patients, from 35 on June 29 to 43 on July 12. There were seven Covid-19 ICU patients two weeks ago, and on Sunday, July 12 there were 10, according to state data.

More dramatic is the rise from the baseline number of cases per 100,000 residents submitted by the county to the state in late May when it applied for a variance for reopening. The baseline then was 28.6 residents per 100,000 testing positive. The most recent number is 269.6. The threshold for considering modifications that would help reopen more businesses and activities is 32 per 100,000.

A mother with her son see a giraffe at the San Francisco Zoo this Monday. Photo: AFP

On July 8, the state shut down bars, indoor dining, museums and indoor family entertainment locations for a minimum of three weeks. That could be extended farther out if numbers don’t decrease. It left some bar owners and other impacted businesses wondering why gyms could remain open but not them.

On Friday, doctors from three hospitals in Monterey County warned mayors that the next two weeks will be “ugly,” with increased hospitalizations, ICU patients and those placed on ventilators. They urged the officials to step up enforcement of social distancing and face covering orders to slow down the spread of the virus and limit the impacts on hospitals.

Los Angeles County – which registered 3,200 new cases on Sunday – went further with the measures and announced that it will not reopen its schools in August for the new school year , but will maintain a virtual model in light of the increase in cases. The superintendent of the second largest school district in the United States, Austin Beutner, indicated that “although the year will begin on August 18, there will be no students on school premises.” “The health and safety of the school community is not something we can put at risk,” he added.

The announcement came amid pressure from the President Donald Trump government for stores to open in the fall, despite records of new cases across the country. San Diego joined Los Angeles in the decision to start the year remotely until the sanitary conditions are in place to resume face-to-face classes.

California was one of the first states to register coronavirus cases on January 26. And in March she issued the confinement order, which was effective in controlling the spread. However, as the restrictions were lifted in May and June, there has been an increase in cases.

Another state that will reverse the reopening is Oregon. Its governor said Monday that it would ban meetings of more than 10 people and that school classes would be held remotely, for now.

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Closure of bars and indoor dining will last through at least July 22 but could be extended.

Before anyone gets too comfortable thinking bars, indoor dining and museums can restart on July 23, the reality is that’s the best case scenario. Worst case: If Covid-19 cases continue to rise too fast and too high over three weeks that date could be extended further out.

“These closures shall remain in effect in California until I direct otherwise, which will be no earlier than July 22, 2020,” reads the order from Sonia Y. Angell, California’s public health officer and director with the California Department of Public Health.

“The current data reflect that community spread of infection is of increasing concern across the state, and most particularly in those counties on the County Monitoring List,” she states near the top of the order, signed and dated on July 7.

She specifically states that out of concern for vulnerable populations the state must take action to stop the spread of Covid-19 in those communities.

“Public health studies have shown that the risk of transmission is exacerbated in indoor spaces, particularly when lacking appropriate ventilation,” the order reads. Length of exposure is also an issue. “In contrast to indoor spaces, wind and the viral dilution in outdoor spaces can help reduce viral load.”

Bars—which were shut entirely with no possibility of opening even outdoors—are the highest risk, because groups tend to mix with other groups, alcohol slows brain activity which can lead to bad decisions and risky behavior. Loud environments mean people start raising their voices and spraying viral droplets into the air.

“In summary, while these businesses represent a valued part of the fabric of our state, the characteristics of these types of establishments contribute to an environment with substantially increased risks for Covid-19 transmission,” Angell writes in the order.

We first learned closures were coming in a tweet from Gov. Gavin Newsom on July 6, stating that the “alarming” rates of Covid-19 in the county and other counties necessitated the action. On July 7, the CDPH informed  officials that the closures would go into effect at 12:01am the following day.

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