Sonoma County, unlike most of the Bay Area, has allowed bars to serve drinks indoors — and allowed wineries and restaurants to reopen for indoor service with some restrictions — since June 19. The effects of that reopening step may start to appear shortly.
The bar scene in Petaluma looked disturbingly back to normal over the weekend, as the Chronicle reports, despite plexiglass partitions installed to separate bartenders from patrons, and blue tape showing distancing guidelines on the floor. You can drink through a mask, just like you can't eat through one, which means most patrons are unmasked while they share these indoor spaces, potentially spreading the coronavirus just through talking.
Sonoma County currently has 1,118 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 10 people in hospitals and five deaths to date. Cases in the county have been rising on average 3 percent for day since mid-June, up from 2 percent per day the weeks prior. And county supervisors and the health officer say they don't plan to re-close bars or restaurants the way Texas and Florida have, following major surges there. Louisiana recently reported a 100-person outbreak traced to a group of people barhopping in Baton Rouge.
The public sounds frustratingly disconnected from the facts of the virus whenever a news outlet speaks to someone on a barstool like 57-year-old Tom Peden, whom the Chronicle found at Gale’s Central Club in Sebastopol. Despite this not being Central Florida, Peden exhibited the same amount of willful ignorance about the virus as many Americans have been for several months — saying it's "just like a really bad flu," and maybe you'll get it and maybe you'll won't but you'll probably recover if you have a strong immune system.
Anyone who hasn't been purposely tuning out the science news should know that this virus is vicious and can leave people with permanent lung or organ damage. It has also killed a lot more people than this guy can likely count who didn't spend their nights on barstools drinking, and were otherwise very healthy.
The Chronicle found several other bar patrons at establishments around Petaluma who did not appear to take the virus threat seriously — and one woman sneered at a bartender for spraying bleach on a countertop, due to the smell.
If your friends are hosting parties or gallivanting without masks, shame them! Or try to talk some sense into them.
New data shows COVID cases among people under the age of 35 in California have surged 73 percent in recent weeks. And after seeing surges in other cities, Mayor London Breed decided Friday not to move ahead with an early reopening date for outdoor drinking, and hair salons.