Written by Julianne Foster
On Sunday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the forced closure of bars in seven California counties and recommended eight other counties close theirs as well.
This step back in reopenings came soon after state health officials reported 5,972 new coronavirus cases on Saturday. As of Monday, there have 6,367 new confirmed cases. An additional 44 deaths have been reported since Sunday, bringing it to a total of 5,980 total deaths statewide.
Yesterday, Newsom expanded the list to include a total of 19 counties that must now close businesses in several industries:
Although San Diego is not on either list or being monitored by the state, county officials decided this week to close bars, wineries, and breweries that do not have a license to serve food. Additional reopenings have come to a halt until August 1, when county officials will re-evaluate the coronavirus situation and determine how they should proceed.
Bars were closed in the county on March 16 and then slowly allowed to reopen beginning June 12. Bars have had a more difficult time staying open during the pandemic because, according to County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, “alcohol consumption impairs judgment and may lead to less compliance with physical distancing guidelines.” In the last 14 days, the county has seen 42 additional deaths and a six percent test positivity rate.
County officials have been closely monitoring the fluctuation in deaths and hospitalization rates to make decisions regarding reinstated closures. Some bar owners seem frustrated with the situation as they work tirelessly to keep their business open and safe, while the carelessness of customers and other bar owners threaten their livelihoods. One such owner, Robert Romero of the oldest bar in the county, Tivoli Bar and Grill, has been greatly concerned for his business.
When Romero noticed other businesses not following county health orders he said, “they’re not only reflecting on us, but also putting up the potential for shut down.”
“It’s scary because we just got back. I just hope and I keep saying, ‘Wow man, I know they’re going to close down again if people don’t start doing the right thing,” Romero added. His fears came true with the new orders from county officials, which inadvertently target businesses that have followed the public health orders scrupulously.