Health and Science

California to close indoor businesses in some counties as coronavirus cases hit record highs

Key Points
  • California has ordered indoor businesses to close across 19 counties as the state grapples with a resurgence of coronavirus cases. 
  • The order applies to some of the state's biggest counties: Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino and Santa Barbara. 
  • Indoor businesses required to close include restaurants, wineries and tasting rooms, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, zoos, museums and cardrooms.
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California closes indoor dining and bars in 19 counties, including LA

California has ordered indoor businesses, including restaurants and movie theaters, to close across 19 counties as the state grapples with a resurgence of coronavirus cases, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday. 

Effective immediately, businesses with indoor operations in counties that have been on the state's "County Monitoring List" for three consecutive days will be required to close. The order applies to some of the state's biggest counties: Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino and Santa Barbara. 

Indoor businesses required to close include restaurants, wineries and tasting rooms, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, zoos, museums and cardrooms, Newsom said at a press briefing. The updated guidance will remain in place for at least three weeks. 

He said the order doesn't require businesses to close entirely but requires them to move operations outdoors if possible. 

California reported a record 9,740 additional cases on Wednesday, a 4.4% increase from a day earlier, according to the state's Covid-19 website. California's positivity rate, or the percentage of total tests returning positive, has increased gradually in June to roughly 6%, Newsom said. 

California state officials later said that some of those new cases were actually confirmed earlier, but weren't reported in the state's official tally until Wednesday due to a backlog in reporting among local health departments. California Department of Public Health spokeswoman Ali Bay said the number of new infections over the previous 24 hours was under 6,000.

"Due to the state's dramatic increase in testing capacity and growing demand for tests, laboratories and local public health departments are processing and verifying more test results than ever," she said in an email, adding that some test results have been delayed as a result. "The California Department of Public Health is processing the delayed test results and updating the state's case counts."

The state will also ramp up its enforcement of recommended social distancing guidelines and face-covering requirements, Newsom said. Seven agencies will come together to form a "strike team" that will target noncompliant workplaces, he said. 

"It's more education. I'm not coming out with a fist," Newsom said. "We want to come out with an open heart, recognizing the magnitude of some of these modifications." 

Ahead of the Fourth of July weekend, Newsom asked localities with mandatory closures to consider canceling fireworks shows to discourage crowds. The state will close parking facilities at state beaches in southern California and the Bay Area, he said. 

On Sunday, Newsom required bars in a handful of counties with rising cases to close their doors, following similar decisions made in Texas and Florida. Apple announced earlier on Wednesday that it would be closing 15 stores in the state due to an increasing number of cases. 

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Update: California health officials say the state is revising its Covid-19 data due to a backlog in reporting among local health departments.