Dining outdoors in San Francisco will continue, but it is unclear now whether eateries will be able to welcome guests indoors on July 13 as previously announced, due to public health concerns and the rise of COVID-19 cases. (Shandana Qazi/Special to the S.F. Examiner)

Newsom orders multiple counties to shut down bars, indoor restaurants as COVID-19 cases rise

As confirmed cases of COVID-19 rise in California, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday ordered the shutdown of indoor restaurants, bars, museums, zoos and other business activity in multiple counties ahead of the Fourth of July weekend.

San Francisco is not among the 19 counties targeted by Newsom’s order, but The City has already moved to halt its own reopening plans amid a rise in cases.

Newsom said an increase in the statewide positivity rate of confirmed cases “is particularly concerning,” prompting him to order the closure of indoor business activities where the respiratory illness is more likely to spread.

The order closes for at least three weeks indoor restaurants, wineries and tasting rooms, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, zoos, museums and card rooms in such counties as Santa Clara, Sacramento and Los Angeles.

Cases have steadily increased in California. On June 17, there were 3,439 confirmed cases of COVID-19. On Tuesday, there were 5,898 newly diagnosed cases and 110 deaths. Newsom said that the state’s positivity rate has increased within the past 14 days from 4.6 percent to 6 percent.

The upcoming Fourth of July weekend has “raised a lot of concern from our health officials,” Newsom said.

While he is not ordering beaches closed, Newsom said that the parking lots of the beaches would be closed in much of the state, including the Bay Area.

He also advised jurisdictions to cancel firework shows.

San Francisco announced Tuesday it had canceled its traditional waterfront firework event that draws hundreds of thousands of visitors.

“The Fourth of July is normally a time to gather and celebrate with family, friends and neighbors. Unfortunately these are not normal times, and these types of gatherings are the environments in which COVID-19 spread,” Mayor London Breed said in a statement Tuesday. “It is critical that all of us continue to follow the health orders designed to protect our safety. Please think carefully and act responsibly this weekend.”

Last Friday, Breed halted the reopening plans of more businesses as San Francisco, like the state, was experiencing a similar rise in COVID-19 cases.

The plan was to allow on June 29 the reopening of hair salons, barbershops, nail salons, tattoo salons, massage establishments, museums, zoos, outdoor bars and outdoor swimming. Now it remains unclear when these establishments could reopen, although The City had also previously said they would allow indoor dining on July 13.

San Francisco’s health officers Tomas Aragon said Tuesday that they will continue to monitor the data and won’t make a decision on whether to allow reopening to progress until at least next week.

Newsom called on Californians to “not take your guard down,” reminding them to wear masks and remain physically distanced. He also advised everyone to reconsider gathering with friends or neighbors during the holiday.

While the state has also experienced an increase in hospitalizations, Newsom said they have adequate capacity.

“None of this should surprise any of us,” Newsom said. “As we reopen our economy, as more people mix, we are going to see an increase in spread. This was anticipated.”

He said the state’s earlier success in “bending the curve” of cases allowed them to build up an infrastructure to handle surges.

“We were able to bend the curve in the state of California,” Newsom said. “We are going to bend this curve again.”


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Gov. Gavin Newsom imposed a ban on indoor dining in a number of California counties and advised people not to gather over the Fourth of July holiday weekend. Courtesy photo

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