SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Explaining his decision to require limited bar closures in seven counties, Gov. Gavin Newsom warned Monday that the state will continue to pull back on reopening as COVID-19 spreads in California.
"The bottom line is: We're doing this because we have seen an increase in the spread of this virus," Newsom said. "We need to take further steps and that's exactly what we did this weekend."
Newsom reported a 45% increase in coronavirus cases in the last seven days and said the rate of positive tests is now at 5.5%. As of Monday, the state is monitoring and working with 19 counties that have failed to meet guidelines for hospitalizations, transmission of the virus or sufficient testing for at least three days.
The governor warned about growing cases one day after he ordered a limited closure of bars in seven counties that have fallen short of the state's guidelines for more than two weeks. But the practical effect of the governor's first action to impose restrictions that had been previously lifted in some areas remains unclear.
The new state requirement only shutters bars that do not serve food in Los Angeles, Fresno, Kern, San Joaquin, Tulare, Kings and Imperial counties. Bars are allowed to remain open in those counties and serve alcohol if they sell dine-in food in the same transaction and meet state safety guidelines for restaurants. Establishments that do not traditionally serve food are also allowed to contract with an outside food vendor to remain open.
The state recommended that bars in eight other counties also close their doors under the same criteria.