In a reversal — or, as Newsom is now calling it, a slide of the "dimmer switch" on reopening — Governor Gavin Newsom ordered all winery tasting rooms, indoor-dining restaurants, museums, and other businesses that have opened in 19 California counties to close, effective immediately.
Surges in COVID-19 cases in multiple counties are driving the move, and it's the first time that a state-level order is being made that reverses reopening guidance that has been issued at the county level during the pandemic.
In an address Wednesday, Newsom said the Fourth of July holiday had increased the urgency of these actions. And the list of counties California is monitoring for increased case counts and hospitalizations grew from 11 to 19 — with Contra Costa, Santa Clara, and Solano counties in the Bay Area all on that list. Thus far, the only county that will be immediately impacted is Solano, which reopened indoor dining in mid-May — Santa Clara and Contra Costa are still only allowing outdoor dining.
"We’re looking at the totality of these 19 counties with increased spread, increased concern and we are trying to build around a framework of being proactive this weekend and get us through Fourth of July weekend in a way where we’re not seeing a significant increase and spike in cases in a few weeks hence because we’re putting ourselves and others in a difficult situation where the spread was more likely, not less likely," Newsom said, per KPIX.
Newsom further said that people must not become complacent when they go to family gatherings, and to keep wearing masks at all times.
"This is about keeping you safe, about keeping them safe — your friends, neighbors and family members — and moreover, just making sure we mitigate the spread and don’t do harm and damage to the lives of those that we love," Newsom said. "I really cannot impress upon you more, the tendency to invite friends, neighbors over that you haven’t seen is there, perhaps you’ve already done that. I hope you’ll reconsider those gatherings with people you do not live with that are not in your immediate household."
As the Chronicle notes, the six remaining Bay Area counties that were not mentioned are not necessarily impacted by the announcement, though Newsom hinted that four more counties may be added to the watch list in the coming days. Cases have also been surging in Alameda County, and while case counts have remained relatively steady in Sonoma and Napa counties, both have allowed indoor wineries and restaurants to be open for the last several weeks.
The current re-closure order will be in place for three weeks.
On Tuesday, Newsom also suggested that enforcement of mask-wearing mandates, on state orders, may be stepped up in the coming days as well.
Much like we saw at the start of the pandemic, we can probably expect orders to shift and change on a day-to-day basis again.