California governor orders bars closed in 7 counties, including Los Angeles

A bartender wearing a face mask wipes down the bar.
(Image credit: Octavio Jones/Getty Images)

With coronavirus cases sharply rising in California, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Sunday ordered that seven counties, including Los Angeles, immediately shutter all bars that are open.

"COVID-19 is still circulating in California, and in some parts of the state, growing stronger," Newsom said in a statement. "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." This affects bars in L.A., Fresno, Kern, San Joaquin, Tulare, Kings, and Imperial counties. Newsom also recommended that eight other counties — San Bernardino, Riverside, Ventura, Santa Barbara, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, Sacramento, and Stanislaus — issue local health orders closing their bars.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti tweeted that he supports the order, and noted that "as we started reopening more businesses, we cautioned that we may need to change course to protect public health from this deadly virus."

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State health officials said they determined which counties needed to take action based on daily reports on hospitalization rates and patterns of transmission, the Los Angeles Times reports. In bars, there is more of a risk of airborne particles spreading coronavirus due to larger crowds, people frequently removing masks to drink, and loud music causing people to talk louder. There have been 213,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in California, with the death toll at 5,910.

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Catherine Garcia

Catherine Garcia is night editor for Her writing and reporting has appeared in Entertainment Weekly and, The New York Times, The Book of Jezebel, and other publications. A Southern California native, Catherine is a graduate of the University of Redlands and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.