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California orders indoor businesses to close in 19 counties as COVID-19 cases rise

States reimposing virus restrictions
States reimposing virus restrictions 03:28

California announced sweeping new restrictions on indoor activities on Wednesday as the number of coronavirus cases continues to climb in the state. Restaurants, movie theaters, museums and other businesses in 19 counties will be forced to close indoor operations for at least the next three weeks, according to a statement from the state's department of public health. 

The guidance applies to indoor operations in dine-in restaurants, wineries and tasting rooms, family entertainment centers, movie theaters, zoos, museums and cardrooms, according to the statement. But the businesses are allowed to modify their operations to provide outdoor service or pick-up.

All bars, breweries, brewpubs and pubs in the 19 counties, on the other hand, are all forced to close immediately, according to the new guidance. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo took a similar step on Wednesday, postponing indoor dining indefinitely.  

"California is seeing the virus spreading at alarming rates in many parts of the state, and we are taking immediate action to slow the spread of the virus in those areas," Newsom said in the statement. "We bent the curve in the state of California once, and we will bend the curve again. But we're going to have to be tougher, and that's why we are taking this action today."

Coronavirus cases in California have spiked 72% in the last two weeks. The situation is catastrophic in places like Riverside County, east of Los Angeles, where ICU beds are 90% full. 

The 19 counties included in the new guidance — which includes Sacramento County, Los Angeles County and Riverside County — are those that have been on the County Monitoring List for three or more consecutive days. The 19 counties hold approximately 72% of the state's population, according to the statement. 

The statement also issued guidance for the July 4 weekend, recommending that counties with mandatory closures cancel their fireworks shows. Los Angeles County previously announced it would close its beaches over the weekend to stem the virus' spread. 

As of June 29, the state had 222,917 confirmed cases of the virus, and 5,980 reported deaths, according to the department of health. 

Carter Evans contributed reporting. 

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