Indoor Restaurants Shut Down in 72% of California for Three Weeks

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The guideline to close indoor operations includes movie theaters, restaurants, card rooms, zoos.

Gavin Newsom made an announcement Wednesday that will close some of California's biggest cardrooms for at least three weeks.

Newsom warned on June 29 that he was contemplating reopenings in Los Angeles County and six other counties due to high transmission rates of COVID-19.

In addition to the new closures, Newsom said seven state agencies are convening new "strike teams" as part of stepped-up enforcement efforts for businesses operating in violation of health orders.

California has seen 5,898 new cases in the past 24 hours and recorded 110 deaths.

More than 6,000 Californians have now died from the disease.

Ventura and Los Angeles counties both closed beaches for the upcoming weekend, but Santa Barbara County's shorelines will be open to the public.

Restaurants in Fresno and surrounding counties have been ordered to close indoor dining spaces immediately in response to surging COVID-19 infections across California. Local health officials have pointed to bars and family gatherings as drivers of the cases.

"Every time there is an increase in cases we have to take a step backwards", he said. "It's really, really crucial - for this holiday weekend especially - that we not congregate".

A closure sign is posted at the entrance of a park Wednesday
A closure sign is posted at the entrance of a park Wednesday

All parking lots at state parks and state beaches in Southern California and the Bay area will be closed, Newsom said.

There is widespread concern among lawmakers in the state that the pandemic could worsen as people celebrate the July Fourth Holiday over the weekend - much like it did when people crowded beaches and outdoor spots during the Memorial Day weekend.

Newsom added that counties have the right to not enforce regulations, but "as a outcome, we have a right as a state, with the consent of the legislature and budget that I signed 24 hours ago, where there's two and a half billion dollars contingent upon good behavior".

"When we talk about compliance, this isn't just talking about mask compliance, this is talking about health and safety in our meat-packing facilities", Newsom said. That anxious public health officials because people were expected to gather in larger numbers than they have for months after the state relaxed its stay-at-home order allowing more businesses to open.

For the two weeks ended Monday, California's confirmed coronavirus cases increased 45 per cent to almost a quarter-million and hospitalisations increased 52 per cent to 5,077.

County officials also said last week that local testing sites have been overwhelmed by demand after they asked even asymptomatic people to get tested, and now want people only to book appointments if they have symptoms, have had close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, or have been advised by a medical professional to get tested.

Newsom showed a slide that he's used before about how droplets that spread COVID-19 can go 4.5 feet with a deep exhale, 6 feet with a cough, and up to 26 feet with a sneeze.

He noted that is impossible to make sure all businesses comply with state directives, so they will go after businesses being most aggressive in "thumbing their nose" against directives.

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