California Gov. Gavin Newsom Orders Movie Theaters, Restaurants to Close Indoor Operations

Courtesy of Governor Gavin Newsom

The governor additionally said the state is moving to close all bars in 19 counties and clarified health recommendations around the July Fourth holiday.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday that 19 counties in the state must close indoor operations in businesses including restaurants, movie theaters, wineries, family entertainment centers, zoos and museums, and card rooms.

During his Wednesday afternoon press conference, the governor additionally said the state is moving to close all bars in 19 counties and clarified health recommendations around the July Fourth holiday. The 19 counties mandated to close indoor business — a list including Contra Costa County, Fresno County, Glenn County, Imperial County, Kern County, Kings County, L.A. County, Merced, Orange, Riverside County, Sacramento County, San Bernardino County, San Joaquin County, Santa Barbara County, Santa Clara County, Solano County, Stanislaus County, Tulare County, Ventura County — are being asked to consider canceling fireworks shows, as Los Angeles did on Monday.

Californians are also advised not to gather with people they don't live with and avoid crowds during the holiday weekend. "The tendency to invite family, friends over, … I hope you'll reconsider," he said.

Additionally, Newsom announced Wednesday that parking lots at beaches in Southern California and the Bay Area will be closed on the July Fourth weekend, that the state will close state beaches in counties that have closed county beaches, and that other state parks will remain open with social distancing measures in place.

As for enforcement, Newsom expressed his hope that people will be "doing the right thing" but said that "strike  teams" will be deployed in six areas across the state, looking specifically at workplaces that are not following health guidelines. Strike teams will be composed of CalOSHA, Alcoholic Beverage Control, Dept. of Business Oversight, Dept. of Consumer Affairs and California Highway Patrol members.

In the past 24 hours in California, 110 people died as a result of COVID-19, 5,898 new cases were recorded and testing yielded a 6 percent positivity rate over the past 14 days. "Please disabuse yourself of the [notion] that people are no longer dying," Newsom said. "Please do not take your guard down."

Later on Wednesday, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti amplified Newsom's announcements at a press conference where he noted of enforcement, "we will not hesitate to shut you down, but we don't want to shut you down." The L.A. City COVID-19 website, he added, will start sharing a color-coded "threat level" guide, with each level signified by red (the highest level of infection, with a mandated stay-at-home order in place), orange, yellow or green (indicating that COVID-19 is mostly contained and presents a low risk). Wednesday the city was at the "orange" level.

When businesses began reopening in early and mid-June, California announced that movie theaters would be allowed to reopen on June 12, though at only 25 percent capacity, or no more than 100 people per theater. However, on Monday, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti ordered a "hard pause" on the reopening of businesses, including movie theaters, amid the spike in COVID-19 cases.

This week, chains including AMC TheatresCinemark and Cineworld pushed their reopening dates to the end of July as cases spiked.

July 1, 5:33 p.m. Updated with remarks L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti's press conference.