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LA, OC Among 19 Calif. Counties Ordered To Close Indoor Operations For Restaurants, Cardrooms, Other Businesses For Three Weeks

SACRAMENTO (CBSLA/AP) — California will require 19 counties — including Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura — to shutter some indoor businesses for at least three weeks due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Newsom made the announcement Wednesday after hinting earlier in the week that he would tighten coronavirus restrictions for California's nearly 40 million residents as a COVID-19 surge has counties rushing to close down bars and beaches ahead of the Fourth of July weekend.

"It's hard to get ramped back up and then shut back down again," Dave Ursini, owner of Naples Rib Company in Belmont Shore, said. "We have to tone down, or scale down, on our employees. Everyone kind of lost hours, but, like I said, I am fortunate enough that we do do take out."

The full list of affected businesses which must close all indoor operations includes restaurants, wineries, movie theaters and family entertainment, zoos, museums and cardrooms, though tribal casinos are not impacted by the order.

Bars in those 19 counties must close completely, Newsom said.

"This is really testing our ability to adapt," David Ramirez, manager of George's Greek Cafe in Long Beach, said. "And it's the challenge that we have to live with right now."

The news comes as California reported 110 deaths Wednesday, the most the state has seen since April, and hospitalizations were once again rising — up 51% in just two weeks with intensive care unit admissions up 47% over the same time period.

"Bottom line is the spread of this virus continues at a rate that is particularly concerning," Newsom said.

The governor also ordered all state beaches and parking lots in Los Angeles and Ventura counties to close over the holiday weekend and has asked cities to cancel their fireworks shows, though he said family gatherings still remain a top concern for health officials.

"I really can't impress upon you more, the tendency to invite friends and neighbors that you haven't seen, I hope you'll reconsider," he said.

Newsom said he's also putting together a multi-agency "strike team" comprised of CAL-OSHA and other agencies to enforce health order closures at businesses in affected counties, though their main goal would be education.

On Tuesday, Newsom said the state will be more aggressive in enforcing public health orders.

"If you're not going to stay home and you're not going to wear masks in public, we have to enforce – and we will," Newsom said.

"You've got to keep people from congregating," agreed Dr. George Rutherford, an epidemiologist at the University of California, San Francisco. But he said it's up to the public to heed social distancing.

"Just because it's summer and they feel like having a barbecue with all their friends, it can't be that way," Rutherford said. "I don't know how one legislates that."

Many smaller retailers facing yet another shutdown could now end up facing bankruptcy - or worse.

"For some of our more independent retailers, if they have to shut down, many of them probably won't open," said Rachel Michelin, president of the California Retailers Association. "They barely made it through what was it, 10 weeks that we were closed? That was hard … I don't know that they will make it."

Last week, Newsom asked Imperial County to impose more restrictions after hospitals in the county near the U.S.-Mexico border had so many patients they had to transfer some to nearby facilities. On Monday, the county Board of Supervisors approved a plan that would close parks and force some businesses to shut down in-person shopping.

Copyright 2020 CBS Corp. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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