SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered bars in several California counties, including San Joaquin, to close Sunday, citing the rising spread of coronavirus.
The state is ordering bars in Fresno, Imperial, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, San Joaquin, and Tulare counties to close. Additionally, the state is recommending bars close in Contra Costa, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Stanislaus, & Ventura counties. The counties were on the state's coronavirus watch list after experiencing surges in cases.
The state health department said in a statement that, "The Department recommends that counties on the County Monitoring List for three or more consecutive days, but less than 14 days, close bars through local health officer order (or do not allow for the opening if bars have not yet been allowed to open in the county). Counties that have been on the list for 14 days or more are required to immediately close bars."
San Joaquin County has the most reported cases in the greater-Sacramento region. According to the county website, there are currently 3,093 cases and 115 coronavirus patients hospitalized. CBS13 reported this week that hospitalizations in the county were up 62% in the county.
Public health officials attributed the rise in cases to social gatherings and people not adhering to coronavirus guidelines. They warned if hospitalizations reach surge capacity, places could close up again.
Sacramento and Stanislaus counties have the second and third highest cases in the region, reporting 2,666 and 2,000 cases, respectively.
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg tweeted his support for the state's orders Sunday afternoon writing, "I support any adjustments deemed necessary by the state or @ to protect public health. I would urge all of our residents to take the prudent steps like wearing masks and maintaining physical distance so we don't have to go backward."
The co-owner of Club Raven feels they've been able to implement protocols at their own bar to keep people safe and healthy and would want to stay open.
"I don't want to close but it was recommended then we would because we want it to be safe for everybody and we don't want this to spread any further. It's hard to juggle that," Shannon Barnes-Arguijo, co-owner of Club Raven, said.
Sacramento County officials said that they are talking to the state about this recommendation but nothing further would be released on Sunday.
San Joaquin County Supervisor Tom Patti told CBS13 that bars are already closed in the county so it's pandemic business as usual.
Some Sacramento bar owners said this new recommendation could really hurt small business owners who are trying to balance surviving and sanitizing.
"They're finally back to work after three months of not working and it would be a hard hit for all of us," Barnes-Arguijo said. "It's obviously devastating if we have to close again. We're a small business. We already missed out on three months of revenue. Clearly, disappointed on that end and just worried for the health of our employees and everyone around us."
"Their minimum wage employees who work literally all on tips will be affected as well going on unemployment and overall affect our larger economy," Francesco Valencia, a resident in midtown, said.
Bars were allowed to reopen in most counties after June 12, as part of the county variance. Before then, only restaurants were allowed to start allowing dine-in options.
In the last week, a few Sacramento county bars have temporarily shut down after learning a customer tested positive for coronavirus. Zebra Club, The Depot, and Badlands all closed for cleaning and testing.
This order from the state comes days after Gov. Newsom stepped up the urgency of his virus messaging. In his press conference on Friday, Newsom announced the state wanted Imperial county to shut down again as the county sees a surge in confirmed cases and hospitalizations.
The governor pleaded with residents to wear masks and take precautions to slow the spread.
"Please, even if you don't feel sick, you may be transmitting this disease," he said. "Please, please, practice common sense, common decency. Protect yourself, but also protect others. ... What more evidence do we need?"
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