Gov. Newsom orders bars to close in several counties, including Los Angeles County

Gov. Newsom also recommended bars close in several counties.
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered bars in several counties to close due to the spread of COVID-19, including Los Angeles County.

Gov. Newsom tweeted the order around noon on Sunday, which also affects Fresno, Imperial, Kern, Kings, San Joaquin, and Tulare counties.

Gov. Newsom also recommended bars close in Contra Costa, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Stanislaus and Ventura counties.

Newsom and the California Department of Public Health released guidance on the closure of bars for counties on the County Monitoring List. The Department of Public Health recommended counties on the County Monitoring List for three or more consecutive days, but less than 14, close bars through the orders of local health officers, according to a news release.

Counties that have been on the County Monitoring List for 14 days or more were required to immediately close bars.

"Californians must remain vigilant against this virus," Gov. Newsom said in a news release. "COVID-19 is still circulating in California, and in some parts of the state, growing stronger. That's why it is critical we take this step to limit the spread of the virus in the counties that are seeing the biggest increases. Each of us has the power to limit the spread of this virus. Wear a face covering and keep physically distant outside the home. Don't gather in groups, and if you are older or have a condition that puts you at higher risk of COVID-19, protect yourself by staying home."

On Saturday, the state reported a rise in nearly 6,000 confirmed cases from the previous day.

Public health officials consider bars to be the highest-risk businesses during the pandemic because drinking can reduce inhibition and impair judgement, potentially leading to people forgetting to wear face coverings and physical distance.

The county health department in L.A. says the sharp increase in cases corresponds with the re-opening of bars just a week ago.

"We have to be open in order to make our rent and pay our bills and pay our employees and keep our employees employed," said Cassie Zebisch, owner of Michael's Pub. "It is very worrisome. I understand everything that's going on, but as long as we can create a safe environment, I feel like we have opportunity for that.

As most of California has moved into Phase 3 of reopening, the state started seeing COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations rise dramatically.

The Department of Public Health has a watch list of counties that are being monitored for worsening coronavirus trends. In each case, the state is working with local health departments to identify the source of the problem and provide assistance as needed.

On Friday, Newsom advised leaders in Imperial County to reinstate a stay-at-home order due to an uptick in COVID-19 cases there. The county, which is on the state's border with Mexico, is seeing an exceptionally high positivity rate, or the proportion of people being tested that return a positive result for COVID-19. The 14-day average positivity rate is approaching 23% in Imperial County, Newsom warned.

For reference, the seven-day positivity rate in California as a whole was 5.7%.
Gov. Newsom asks one SoCal county to shut back down amid COVID-19 surge
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The positivity rate in Imperial County is approaching 23%, Gov. Gavin Newsom warned.

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