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August 8, 2020

Newsom closes indoor services in restaurants, other businesses

Other counties hit with harder restrictions

SACRAMENTO—Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday ordered a statewide closure to indoor services in restaurants, theaters, wineries, museums, zoos, card rooms and family entertainment centers. Bars must cease all operations. 

In addition, 30 counties on California’s county watchlist must also shutter their churches, gyms, malls, hair salons and other businesses. Both Monterey and San Benito counties were included in that list as of Monday. 

The orders are effective immediately.

Newsom added that businesses with the ability to expand their outdoor services may do so. 

The orders came as the state sees a surge in new Covid-19 cases, and as hospitals are strained by patients with the disease.

“This virus is not going away any time soon,” he said. “I hope all of us recognize that if we were still connected to some notion that somehow when it gets warm it’s going to go away, or that it is going to take summer hours or weekends off, the virus has done neither.”

Newsom also urged every resident to continue to practice social distancing guidelines and to wear a mask.

“Limit your mixing with people outside of your household,” he said. “It’s just common sense, but the data suggests that not everybody is practicing common sense.”

Newsom’s order means local restaurants will again be limited to takeout services. It also means many employees who were brought back after Santa Cruz County restaurants first reopened their dining rooms in early June will again have to be laid off.

Stella Romo, owner of Jalisco Restaurant on Main Street, said she was able to bring back roughly 80% of her staff with help from the Paycheck Protection Program, but is now having the tough conversations with her employees once again.

“That, I think, is the hardest part about closing down right now,” she said. “I understand the situation. I’m not happy about it, but if it’s about the safety of all of us, I get it and we’ll go along.”

Romo said she is now preparing to move her operations outdoors in her business’ patio and parking lot. She received approval from city and county officials for the move in mid-June but had not yet used the permit.

“Now, we will—we’ll have to,” she said. “In these times you have to be resourceful.”

According to the California Department of Public Health, more than 320,000 Californians have been infected by Covid-19, and on July 12, the state reported 8,460 new cases.

More than 7,000 people have died, Newsom said.

“It’s a reminder of the deadliness of this disease,” he said. “I just remind you that, not only are people getting Covid-19, not only are we seeing that people transmit this disease, but we’re also continuing to see lives lost.”

In Santa Cruz County, there were 138 new cases identified from Monday-Wednesday, according to the county’s website. There were 382 active cases in the county on Thursday, 261 of which were identified in the last two weeks, according to state data.

Santa Cruz County Health Officer Gail Newel on Thursday said the rise in cases was concerning and asked the community to continue to practice physical distancing and follow the state and county mask policies. She also discouraged the public from gathering outside of their household unit, which she said has been the cause of most cases. 

“The trend is definitely a steeply-rising curve,” she said. “So we believe that the county is joining the rest of the state of California in entering a surge.”


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