Update, June 29: Sacramento County has announced it will close bars beginning Monday at 6 p.m.
Gov. Gavin Newsom and California’s public health officials are mandating that all bars close in seven counties, including Los Angeles, and recommending closures in eight others, including Sacramento.
“Closing bars in these counties is one of a number of targeted actions counties are implementing across our state to slow the virus’ spread and reduce risk,” Dr. Sonia Angell, the state public health officer and director of the California Department of Public Health, wrote in a statement.
The state is requiring that bars close immediately in Fresno, Imperial, Kern, Kings, San Joaquin and Tulare counties, in addition to Los Angeles.
Officials are recommending the same for Contra Costa, Riverside, San Bernardino, Santa Clara, Stanislaus, Ventura and Sacramento counties.
“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,” Newsom wrote in a statement.
The state allowed bars to reopen in recent weeks across the the state as part of modifying its stay-at-home order. But in the past week, bars have willingly closed their doors after workers or regular customers tested positive for the virus.
In the city of Sacramento, Old Tavern, Zebra Club and The Depot announced temporary closures due to the virus.
The state says identifying COVID-19 cases back to bars is challenging. “Beyond the higher risk of transmission in bar settings, contract tracing, a key measure needed to control spread, is also more challenging in bars because of the constant mixing among patrons and a lack of record-keeping of those in attendance,” a statement from the governor’s office read.
Newsom is urging all residents to wear masks in public. In the past seven days, hospitalizations have increased by 22 percent in California, along with the rise in overall cases.
This story will be updated.
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