SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — As the coronavirus swept California with renewed ferocity, the governor once again closed bars, inside dining and, for much of the state, gyms, indoor church services and hair and nail salons in an effort to prevent COVID-19 cases from swamping hospitals.
Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a sweeping set of closures on Monday as the state recorded more than 329,000 cases and deaths topped 7,000. Hospitalizations have surged by 28% in the past two weeks, including a 20% increase in patients requiring intensive care.
That was lower than a 50% hike seen about a week ago but Newsom said he was concerned about the future and implored people to maintain social distance, wear masks in public and stay home when possible.
“COVID-19 is not going away anytime soon, until there is a vaccine and or an effective therapy,” Newsom said.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles and San Diego school districts, the two largest in California with a combined K-12 student population of about 720,000, announced Monday they won’t bring students back to classrooms next month because of rising coronavirus hospitalizations and infection rates.
Earlier in the pandemic California closed beaches, campgrounds and state parks as it sought to limit interactions of people from different households. But as data showed the virus was most likely to be transmitted indoors, the Newsom administration began modifying public health orders, including ordering people to wear face coverings and leaving outdoor activities alone.
On Monday, the governor ordered restaurants to stop serving customers indoors and told bars, wineries, movie theaters, zoos, museums, cardrooms and other indoor entertainment venues to shut down.
Shutdowns went even further in some of the 30 counties on a state watch list because of worrying rises in disease transmission, especially from people mingling without heeding safety guidelines. The listed counties account for roughly 80% of California’s population.
Those that have been on the list for three days now must restrict indoor operations for hair and nail salons, tattoo parlors, gyms, shopping malls and houses of worship.
The affected counties include Los Angeles and virtually all of Southern California.
In Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti immediately implemented the shutdowns and warned that the city was “on the verge” of raising its COVID-19 threat level from orange to red — the highest level — and resorting to shutting down all but essential businesses.
By ADAM BEAM | Associated Press