Newsom Orders More Closures, Creates Health Enforcement “Strike Teams”

In response to spiking coronavirus cases, Gov. Gavin Newsom is ordering the closure of indoor operations in certain business sectors — including restaurants, wineries and cardrooms — for the next three weeks in all counties that have been on the state’s “watch list” for at least three days, including Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside.

The governor also announced the forming of Multi-Agency Strike Teams that will crack down on businesses across the state that are operating in violation of health orders. Various agencies will be involved, including the CHP, Department of Consumer Affairs and Department of Business Oversight.

Newsom made his remarks during a statewide update of the pandemic on Wednesday, July 1.

In ordering a halt to indoor business activities, Newsom said affected businesses in the 19-county “watch list” area are not being ordered to close entirely, but instead move operations outdoors. For restaurants without outdoor dining space, the order will likely force many to revert to carryout-only operations.

The ban on indoor operations will last for three weeks.

He said the strike teams will aim to get voluntary compliance from business owners. He again reiterates that if individual counties are falling short of enforcing requirements, they could face a loss of state funding.

Counties earn spots on the state’s watch list by falling short on select criteria, such as the number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents and the overall positivity rate among people tested for the virus.

The state is also closing all parking facilities at state beaches in Southern California, Newsom said, and state beaches will be closed in counties that have closed their local beaches, such as Los Angeles county.

Newsom fell short of ordering all beaches to close across the state for the holiday weekend, but he closed all parking facilities at state beaches in Southern California and the Bay Area. In counties that have ordered local beach closures, state beaches will also close, Newsom said.

Other action Newsom is taking to try and again slow the spread of the coronavirus includes closure of all bars in counties on the state’s watch list. Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Diego counties already have those closures in place.

During his briefing, Newsom praised the overall efforts of counties to enforce health orders to prevent the spread of the virus, but he again warned that counties falling short in that area could face a loss of millions of  dollars in state funding.

He also again warned residents to avoid public gatherings over the holiday weekend, including family gatherings, and he again urged everyone to wear face coverings and practice social distancing in public.

City News Service contributed to this report.