(CALMATTERS) – Enforcement of coronavirus orders is ramping up across California as the state broke its single-day record for deaths twice this week amid a series of outbreaks in essential workplaces.

A woman walks out of a liquor store in Santa Monica on June 23. Photo by Jae C. Hong, AP Photo

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday withheld federal coronavirus relief funds from two Central Valley cities for their “sanctuary” resolutions allowing all businesses to remain open amid the pandemic. On Tuesday, Contra Costa joined a growing list of counties and cities that permit fining residents and businesses for not complying with public health orders, such as wearing face masks. 

And Los Angeles this week shut down three businesses for failing to report coronavirus outbreaks that infected more than 140 employees, marking a significant escalation of the county’s enforcement practices.

The stepped-up enforcement comes as 37 of 58 counties have landed on the state’s watch list, with 36 required to close almost all indoor activities. Some cities are taking things even further — Palm Springs on Tuesday instituted a curfew for some businesses to curb the virus’ spread.

Newsom on Monday said the state will send three “strike teams” into the hard-hit Central Valley to investigate coronavirus outbreaks, many of which have occurred in agricultural workplaces and disproportionately impacted low-income Latino workers. 

  • Newsom: “It’s not the fact that an employee has tested positive, it’s how we respond to that employee testing positive and how we protect those coworkers, how we protect the entire business and the community those businesses are operating in.”