After reopening just over a week ago, bars in Los Angeles now need to shut their doors again.
On Sunday, California Governor Gavin Newsom said that, due to the recent rise in coronavirus cases across the state, he’s ordering bars to close immediately in Los Angeles County, as well as six others: Fresno, Imperial, Kern, Kings, San Joaquin and Tulare. All of these areas have been on the state’s county monitoring list for more than 14 days, which has prompted the action.
The local L.A. County order specified that bars, breweries, wineries, pubs and tasting rooms must close unless they serve meals. This also includes bar areas in restaurants.
In addition, Newsom is recommending that bars close in most other SoCal counties, including Riverside, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, and Ventura, as well as Contra Costa, Sacramento, Santa Clara and Stanislaus Counties. The counties have all appeared on the watchlist for between three and 14 days. On Monday, Glenn, Merced, Orange and Solano Counties were also added to this watchlist—but they don’t yet meet the criteria for these recommended rollbacks.
In a Monday address, Newsom added that reopening guidelines may be augmented—or even more restrictive ones may be rolled out—if necessary. “We are considering a number of other things to advance and we will be making those things public as conditions change, and we will make public at, we believe, the appropriate time, based upon our feedback and engagement with local health officers,” he said.
On Friday, Newsom noted that California had paused its reopening plans, with no plans to move forward “anytime soon.” Today’s news, though, marks the first time the state is enacting a widespread retraction of its reopenings (though both Newsom and local leaders have repeatedly said for months that the ability to roll back these openings, if necessary, is an integral part of the process).
The news comes amid worrying coronavirus case numbers both statewide and locally, including increases in transmission, positivity and hospitalizations rates. It also comes as more and more Angelenos have ventured out to bars; data released by the Los Angeles County Department of Health suggests that 500,000 people visited bars the day after they reopened (compared to 700,000 pre-pandemic).