Solano County among 19 California counties ordered to close bars, indoors restaurant seating and more

Newsom orders new shutdown of restaurants, other indoor business in 19 California counties

San Francisco Chronicle, by Dustin Gardiner July 1, 2020
Gov. Gavin Newsom at a news conference in Sacramento on Jan. 10.
Gov. Gavin Newsom at a news conference in Sacramento on Jan. 10. Photo: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press

SACRAMENTO — Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered 19 counties with surging coronavirus outbreaks to close indoor restaurants, wineries, movie theaters and other venues on Wednesday, saying California must act to keep the pandemic from spiraling out of control.

Newsom said the state has directed counties on its “watch list” — those with spiking numbers of new cases and hospitalizations — to reimpose parts of their stay-at-home orders. His directive came as the state warned that the virus could spread from family gatherings on the the Fourth of July weekend.

In the Bay Area, the list includes Contra Costa, Santa Clara and Solano counties.

“We’ve seen increased activity where people simply aren’t able to practice social distancing,” Newsom said at a briefing.

His order requires restaurants, wineries, family entertainment centers, movie theaters, museums, zoos and cardrooms in the 19 counties to halt indoor operations for at least three weeks. The affected establishments are allowed to operate outdoors, such as restaurant patios.

Newsom also ordered the full closure of all bars and breweries in the 19 counties, both indoor and outdoor operations.

Combined, the 19 counties include nearly three-fourths of California’s population. Besides the Bay Area counties, the list includes Los Angeles, Orange, Sacramento, Stanislaus, Fresno, Glenn, Imperial, Kern, Kings, Merced, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Joaquin, Santa Barbara, Tulare and Ventura counties.

The governor said the state will also close parking lots at state beaches, including those in the Bay Area, for the holiday weekend.

Newsom implored Californians to practice social distancing and wear masks as they mingle and travel for the holiday. He said people must “disabuse” themselves of any notion that people have stopped dying of COVID-19, noting that the statewide death toll hit 110 on Tuesday.

“Let’s do our best to meet this moment, as we met the moment many months ago and bent the curve again the first time,” he said. “Let’s do it again.”

On Tuesday, the state recorded 7,820 new cases — its second-highest tally in a 24-hour period — and surpassed 6,000 deaths. The state reported 5,898 new cases on Wednesday.

Newsom’s administration began allowing counties in May to move ahead on reopening businesses including indoor restaurants and shopping malls if they hit benchmarks in slowing the spread of the virus and creating capacity to contain a surge.

Most of California’s 58 counties have allowed some nonessential businesses to reopen, although the pace has been slower in the Bay Area than elsewhere.

In recent days, however, some of those efforts have been reversed — several counties have closed bars again, and San Francisco, Marin, Alameda and Contra Costa counties all pulled back on plans to let gyms and hair salons reopen.

Alarming updates about the virus’ toll continue to mount: San Francisco announced Tuesday that the city has seen a 49% spike in hospitalizations over the last week as patients from San Quentin State Prison and hard-hit rural Imperial County were transferred to city hospitals.

Dustin Gardiner is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer.