California reimposes sweeping restrictions amid spike in cases

California reimposes sweeping restrictions amid spike in cases
A bartender mixes a drink while wearing a mask and face shield at a bar in California. Source: AP
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Daily US Times: The US state of California reimposes sweeping restrictions on public spaces and businesses amid a spike of coronavirus infections in America’s most populous state.

On Monday, Governor Gavin Newsom ordered an immediate halt to all indoor activities at bars, restaurants, entertainment venues, museums, and zoos.

In the worst-affected counties of the south-western US state, gyms, hairdressers and churches will also close.

California has reported more than 330,000 Covid-19 cases, with more than 7,000 deaths. Increasing numbers of California residents are now needing intensive care.

What did Governor Newsom say?

On Monday, the Democratic governor warned that “this virus is not going away anytime soon”.

“I hope all of us recognise that if we were still connected to some notion that somehow when it gets warm it’s going to go away or somehow it’s going to take summer months or weekends off – this virus has done neither,” he said while announcing the sweeping restrictions.

“We are now effective today requiring all counties to close their indoor activities, their indoor operations in the following sectors: restaurants, wineries, tasting rooms, movie theatres, family entertainment centers, zoos and museums, card rooms and the shuttering of all bars.”

But as data showed the coronavirus was most likely to be transmitted indoors or limited space situations, the Newsom administration began modifying public health orders.

The governor said this is in every county in the state of California.

Mr Newsom has repeatedly implored people to refrain from social gatherings and he expressed frustration that many people aren’t following the guidance.

He said: “Covid-19 is not going away anytime soon until there is a vaccine and or an effective therapy.”

The new measures reverse the easing of the state’s strict lockdown in May and then again in June when bars, restaurants, and gyms reopened within counties that met the state’s safety guidelines.

Los Angeles city immediately implemented the mandated shutdowns. Mayor of the city Eric Garcetti said he wouldn’t hesitate to go further.

The city created a colour-coded system in earlier this month to designate the threat level from the virus and corresponding shutdowns.

Increasing numbers of hospitalizations and cases now have it at orange — the second-highest designation, when people are to minimise all contact with anyone outside their household.

Other states could now follow California’s lead as infections continue to surge in America’s south.

According to Johns Hopkins University, there are currently over 3.3 million confirmed Covid-19 cases across the country, and more than 135,000 deaths.

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