Newsom orders additional halt on indoor operations, includes gyms, churches, malls

Gov. Gavin Newsom. Courtesy of the Office of the Governor

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday California is pulling back even further with a new order halting indoor operations in fitness centers, places of worship and hair salons across 30 counties, including Los Angeles County. 

The state’s COVID-19 watch list now includes 30 counties after having 23 last week, including Santa Barbara, Orange, Ventura and others in central and northern California. 

Those counties must also close indoor operations for barbershops, malls, personal care services and offices for non-critical sectors. 

Now statewide, restaurants, wineries, movie theaters, zoos, family entertainment areas and museums must stop indoor operations, Newsom announced but did not provide a timeframe. Bars, both indoor and outdoor, must close in all counties. 

The halt on indoor dining and similar operations was first issued July 1 for the state’s watch list, which then had 19 counties, including L.A. County, and was said to last for at least three weeks. 

The move for a statewide ban and additional closures comes as a COVID-19 case surge continues to grow not only in counties, such as L.A., but in rural areas, as well, Newsom said. 

“The reason we are moving forward today with additional demand in terms of our opening begins to dim down, again, is we’re starting to see in some rural parts of the state, increase in ICU use that is generating some concern,” he said Monday during a live state briefing. 

A total of 1,833 individuals are currently admitted in ICUs, which represents a 20% increase over a two-week period, and hospitalizations have also increased by 39% over the past 14 days. California’s health care system capacity includes 73,867 licensed hospital beds, of which 9%, or 6,485, is occupied by patients diagnosed with COVID-19. 

The positivity rate has also trended upward in the same time period, which stands at 7.6%. On July 1, Newsom announced that figure had grown from 4.6% to 6% over the past two weeks. 

California has more than 320,000 confirmed cases and more than 7,000 deaths to date, according to state data. 

Continued closures on indoor operations aim to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 as it relates to airflow issues when people gather indoors, said Newsom. 

“That’s the spirit of today’s presentation, looking at moving a lot of these activities that were happening inside, like restaurants, moving those activities outside. The impact of the spread of the virus outside, we believe is more favorable than mixing with individuals for an extended period of time,” he said. 

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