Newsom orders seven counties to close bars as coronavirus surges

Jun 29, 2020 | Cal Matters

Good morning, California. It’s Monday, June 29.

Some parts of California are going back under lockdown. 

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Sunday ordered bars to close in seven counties and recommended they close in eight others following a week in which each day heralded a new all-time high of coronavirus-related hospitalizations.

  • Newsom: “COVID-19 is still circulating in California, and in some parts of the state, growing stronger. That’s why it is critical we take this step to limit the spread of the virus in the counties that are seeing the biggest increases.”

Bars are required to close in Fresno, Imperial, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, San Joaquin and Tulare counties — which have been on the state’s watch list for more than two weeks — and recommended to close in Contra Costa, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Stanislaus and Ventura counties, which have been on the watch list for at least three days. (Some counties hadn’t yet allowed bars to reopen.)

The state Department of Public Health deems bars “the highest risk sector of businesses allowed to open so far” because of the quantity of people mixing, alcohol consumption leading to less physical distancing, and raised voices spewing more droplets into the air.  

  • LA Mayor Eric Garcetti: “As we started reopening more businesses, we cautioned that we may need to change course to protect public health from this deadly virus. I support @CAGovernor’s order to close bars in L.A. County and other counties to limit the spread of COVID-19.”

With hospitalizations jumping by 48% over the two-week period ending June 26, Newsom has begun reasserting his authority after weeks of underscoring counties’ right to determine their pace of reopening.

On Friday, the governor told especially hard-hit Imperial County to reinstate its stay-at-home order, about a week after he ordered all Californians to wear masks in public places.

Several counties, including San Francisco, Contra Costa, and Marin, are pushing back or reevaluating their reopening timelines amid a surge in cases. However, Santa Clara County, which has had some of the tightest restrictions in the state, plans to reopen more businesses and activities this week.

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The coronavirus bottom line: As of 9 p.m. Sunday night, California had 211,243 confirmed coronavirus cases and 5,905 deaths from the virus, according to a CalMatters tracker.

Also: CalMatters regularly updates this pandemic timeline tracking the state’s daily actions. And we’re tracking the state’s coronavirus hospitalizations by county.

Other stories you should know

1. Have Newsom’s coronavirus programs lived up to his promises?

Gov. Gavin Newsom carries meals made at the Queen Sheba Ethiopian Cuisine restaurant to a waiting delivery vehicle in Sacramento on June 19, 2020. Newsom visited the restaurant that is participating in the Great Plates Delivered program that provides meals to older adults who are at-risk to COVID-19. Photo by Rich Pedroncelli, AP Photo/PoolGov. Gavin Newsom carries meals made at the Queen Sheba Ethiopian Cuisine restaurant to a waiting delivery vehicle in Sacramento on June 19, 2020. Newsom visited the restaurant that is participating in the Great Plates Delivered program that provides meals to older adults who are at-risk to COVID-19. Photo by Rich Pedroncelli, AP Photo/Pool
Newsom carries meals made at the Queen Sheba Ethiopian Cuisine restaurant to a delivery vehicle in Sacramento on June 19. Photo by Rich Pedroncelli, AP Photo/Pool

Three months into the pandemic, how well is California’s safety net holding up? CalMatters’ Jackie Botts evaluates whether the “first-in-the-nation” programs Newsom introduced at a rapid-fire pace — including expanded unemployment assistance, money for families whose kids were missing out on school lunches, free restaurant meals for seniors, aid for undocumented immigrants, and hotel rooms for homeless Californians — have lived up to the governor’s promises or fallen short. Asked to grade himself on the programs’ success, Newsom said he’s “very proud of starting things from scratch,” adding, “we could have just walked away and never even endeavored to do something audacious.”

2. A preview of California’s contentious November ballot

Three-quarters of ballots mailed to Californians had yet to be returned as of the day before Election Day. Photo illustration by Anne Wernikoff for CalMattersThree-quarters of ballots mailed to Californians had yet to be returned as of the day before Election Day. Photo illustration by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters
Photo illustration by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters

Californians now have a mostly complete picture of the measures they’ll be voting on in November — and what an election it will be. The ballot is strewn with high-profile initiatives, including proposed constitutional amendments that would overturn the state’s affirmative action ban, allow parolees to vote, and extend some voting rights to some 17-year-olds. Then there are a few contentious measures about housing and property taxes, including one that would raise taxes for some commercial properties. Big Tech also has a lot at stake with a measure that would keep app-based drivers classified as independent contractors and another that would tighten online consumer privacy laws. CalMatters’ Ben Christopher breaks down each of the 12 measures.

3. Newsom sidelined from leading California Democratic delegation

photo of gavin newsom at the California Democratic Conventionphoto of gavin newsom at the California Democratic Convention
Newsom at the California Democratic Party convention in San Francisco on June 1, 2019. Photo by Ben Christopher for CalMatters

Newsom will not lead California’s Democratic delegation to the party’s convention in August to choose a presidential and vice-presidential nominee — though governors typically lead their state’s delegates, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Instead, U.S. Reps. Ro Khanna of Fremont and Barbara Lee of Oakland will co-chair the delegation along with Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis, California Democratic Party Chair Rusty Hicks announced Saturday. It’s a win for progressives, who argued the delegation should be headed by supporters of Bernie Sanders, who won the state’s March primary. They got Khanna and Lee, while Solis was reportedly the choice of Joe Biden’s campaign.

  • Khanna: “It should be clear that California delegates stand for Medicare for All, debt-free college, a $15-an-hour minimum wage … strategic cuts to the military budget” and other policies advanced by Sanders.
  • Newsom weighed in Sunday on Twitter: “At this moment in history, I’m proud that our Delegation will be chaired by those who reflect the diversity and dynamism of our great state.”

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CalMatters commentary

CalMatters columnist Dan Walters: If PG&E cannot operate safely and profitably after emerging from bankruptcy, a state takeover may be the way to go.

Raising taxes on corporations and wealthy: This would help the state fully fund its public sector, including schools and universities, argues Anthony Pahnke, an SFSU professor.

Protecting Californians of color: Even though the U.S. Supreme Court dealt the Trump administration two defeats over immigration and sanctuary cities, California has more work to do, argue Sandy Valenciano of the Immigrant Legal Resource Center and Angela Chan of Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus.

Promoting outdoor access: Parks serve as sacred spaces to connect, hold vigils and launch peaceful calls for justice, but we don’t all have equal access, write Eduardo Garcia, a Democratic Assembymember from Coachella, and José González of Parks Now.

Investing in green transport: California’s efforts to recover from the recession need to include clean transportation, argues John Boesel of CALSTART.

Don’t close youth fire camp: It’s a true opportunity to offer meaningful rehabilitation to incarcerated youth, writes Steven “Slim” Butler, a registered professional forester.


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Other things worth your time

California lawmakers approve budget that delays pain and depends on infusion of federal funds. // Sacramento Bee

Rural California defies Newsom’s mask order. // Sacramento Bee

As coronavirus raged through nursing homes, inspectors found nothing wrong. // Los Angeles Times

Bay Area charter schools received millions of dollars from a federal coronavirus relief program intended for small businesses. // San Francisco Chronicle

California cities begin embracing cannabis in desperate bid for cash. // Politico

Janet Napolitano says farewell to UC, advocates for affirmative action and COVID-19 research. // EdSource

With Sprint merger in the bag, T-Mobile is backing away from some of the promises it made California. // Los Angeles Times


See you tomorrow.

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