California governor orders restaurants in 19 counties to stop indoor dining

People walk outside a closed bar in Hollywood.
(Image credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Ahead of the 4th of July weekend, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced on Wednesday he is tightening restrictions on indoor activities in the state, due to a spike in coronavirus cases.

Newsom ordered 19 counties — including Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside, Ventura, Santa Barbara, Imperial, and Contra Costa — to stop indoor dining and close wineries, tasting rooms, museums, zoos, movie theaters, card rooms, and entertainment centers.

"This doesn't mean restaurants are shut down," Newsom said. "It means that we're trying to take the activities, as many activities as we can — these mixed activities, these concentrated activities — and move them outdoors, which is a way of mitigating the spread of this virus."

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California began reopening businesses in May, after Newsom ordered a strict stay-at-home order in mid-March because of the pandemic. Nail and hair salons, gyms, and retail stores were allowed to begin reopening in early June, and in the weeks since, the number of cases has surged in counties across California. On June 18, Newsom required all Californians to wear masks while in public, and on Sunday, he ordered bars in several counties to close.

The state is tracking counties that are reporting surges in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, like rural Imperial County. Over a 14-day period, nearly one in every four people tested there was positive for the coronavirus, the Los Angeles Times reports; the statewide average is one in every 20 residents. To offer some relief to local hospitals, more than 500 patients have been transferred to medical facilities in other counties. Newsom recommended that the county reimpose a stringent stay-at-home order, telling residents to stay home unless they are essential workers or need to get groceries or seek medical care.

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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.