At his noon coronavirus press conference, Gov. Gavin Newsom made good on his promise to “toggle back” reopenings in California by ordering restaurants once again to shut down dine-in service. This applies to all locales on the “county monitoring list” for at least three consecutive days. There are 19 counties on that list, and Los Angeles in one of them.
Restaurants still will be allowed to offer food for pickup or delivery.
The guideline to cease indoor operations for three weeks also includes movie theaters, restaurants, indoor family entertainment businesses, card rooms and zoos. Over the weekend, the governor ordered bars and nightclubs closed.
The state’s hospitals went from slightly more than 3,000 coronavirus patients in mid-June to more than 5,000 as of the most recent update. That’s a 52% increase in 14 days.
Newsom said he is hoping that people will comply with the guidelines voluntarily. If they do not, the governor said he is deploying a “strike team” of government agencies to ensure compliance, especially where it concerns workplaces. Alcoholic Beverage Control, CalOSHA, the Department of Business Oversight, the Department of Consumer Affairs and the California Highway Patrol are among the agencies that will be enforcing the guidelines.
“We will have these agencies use their regulatory authority in six regions of the state,” a state official said at the press conference, “This will begin today.”
“We have a duty,” the governor said, to “go after” those who are not complying.
The state is not closing beaches, but is “modifying” parking operations at state beaches — meaning he’s closing them. Newsom reiterated that beaches in L.A. and Ventura will be closed this weekend.
The governor also recommended that local officials cancel fireworks shows, a measure that already has been imposed in Los Angeles.
In reference to family gatherings, particularly over the holiday weekend, Newsom said, “We’re gonna need to do more about that … being a little bit more aggressive in regards to guidelines.”
“It’s family gatherings,” said Newsom on Tuesday, “where people let down their guard.” The governor was most concerned about people taking off masks, giving family members hugs and kisses. “Then all of a sudden, you see a spread,” he said.
He said that case tracing has indicated that family events are problematic. “I hope you’ll reconsider those gatherings,” he said.
Moving to enforcement, Newsom said, “We’re going to do our best to try and encourage people not to gather, through education” but “not to be punitive.”
“Forty million people live in the state of California,” said Newsom. He then noted that, if all those people decided to ignore the restrictions, there would be no way for the state to enforce them. As a result, he said, “I’m going to ask you to advance this notion of independence, of personal responsibility” and wear a mask.
“The spirit of the Founding Fathers is personal responsibility,” he added.
Newsom encouraged Californians to think of wearing masks and social distancing the same way they do seat belts or motorcycle helmets: a preventative measure to keep one safe.
Referring to the Declaration of Independence, Newsom asked: “What was the first word that was consecrated in that document? It was ‘life.’”
The governor announced 110 deaths due to coronavirus in the state in the past 24 ours, and a jump in the positivity rate of tests over a seven-day period.
Currently, there are nearly 5,200 hospitalizations as a result of COVID-19. The state has over 44,000 beds available, if needed.
ICU admissions have increased 47% from two weeks ago. Currently the state has 3,580 of 10,000 ICU beds in use. “ICU availability is foundational” to reminded the governor.
On Friday, Newsom had Imperial County roll back its lifting of the stay-at-home order. On Monday he hinted a that that measure might be in the future for more counties in the state.
Watch Newsom’s press conference below.
By Tom Tapp