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Newsom Bans Indoor Dining at Restaurants, Closes Bars Again in 19 Counties

SACRAMENTO — Gov. Gavin Newsom has ordered indoor dining and bar services closed in 19 California counties including Fresno, Tulare, Kings and Merced.

The action, announced Wednesday, is part of a rollback of the governor’s phased reopening plan and comes amid a troubling spike over the past two weeks in new COVID-19 cases.

In addition to restaurants, wineries and tasting rooms, movie theaters, zoos and museums, cardrooms and family entertainment centers must also close their indoor operations effective immediately. Bars must keep all of their operations closed.

The new order will be in effect for at least the next three weeks, the governor said.

With a surge in new cases, Fresno, Tulare, Kings and Merced counties have been placed on the state’s COVID-19 watch list. Also on the list: Contra Costa, Glenn, Kern, San Joaquin, Solano, Stanislaus, Imperial, Santa Clara and Ventura counties.

Counties reporting an increase in hospitalizations, community spread or limited hospital capacity over the last 14 days are placed on the list.

Ahead of what Newsom called a “concerning” Fourth of July weekend, he urged Californians to redouble their efforts to fight the spread of the virus.

“We were able to bend the curve in the state of California, and we will bend the curve again,” the governor said.

 The California Highway Patrol, Alcoholic Beverage Control and CalOSHA will be in charge of getting businesses to comply with the changes.

Newsom’s Office of Emergency Services on Wednesday launched strike teams to help enforce the order. The teams will work with local health official, OES Director Mark Ghilarducci said.

Wednesday’s actions by the governor come as California has set a record for new cases for three days in a row. The state has had 233,690 confirmed cases as of midday Wednesday.

Worldwide, there are now 10.4 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 — and more than 510,000 deaths. The U.S. continues to lead the world, with more than 2.68 million cases and a death toll rapidly approaching 130,000.

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Sierra News Online

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