Here in the Bay Area it was Alameda County suspending outdoor dining and Sonoma County having to shut down all its reopened bars and indoor restaurants that have marked the biggest changes to public health mandates Monday. But Governor Gavin Newsom just issued a broad, statewide order covering counties both on and off the public health department's watch list.
Amid spikes in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in dozens of California counties, Newsom has once again switched to "dim" on the "dimmer switch" of this reopening process. Today's order covers indoor activities at a variety of businesses in all 58 counties in the state, mandating that all of them temporarily shut down once again as they did in March. The list of affected businesses includes indoor restaurants, winery tasting rooms, bars, brewpubs, zoos, family entertainment centers, museums, and movie theaters.
"We've made this point on multiple occasions and that is we're moving back into a modification mode of our original stay-at-home order," Newsom said of the re-closing decision during the press conference. "It's a dynamic process, not linear. That dynamism is based on this virus."
As KRON4 reports via the governor's website, the 30 counties currently on the state watch list — which include Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, Sonoma, and Solano counties in the Bay Area — must close indoor operations at select other businesses as well. These include gyms and fitness centers, malls, places of worship, nail salons, tattoo parlors, and offices for non-essential workers.
The order is effective immediately, and Newsom cited a statewide positivity rate of 7.4 percent as a reason for the escalated measures.
While Solano, Sonoma, and Napa counties are the only places in the Bay Area that have allowed indoor dining and bars to reopen, all have now had to reverse course under orders from the state as their COVID-19 metrics have shifted in the wrong direction. Marin County permitted indoor dining to resume on June 29 only to shut that down a week later due to landing on the watch list.
San Francisco and San Mateo counties have remained off the state's monitoring list due to relatively stable metrics, while Santa Clara has been on the list but has since been removed after things stabilized. Still, none of the above types of indoor businesses have reopened in SF or San Mateo.
Over the weekend, some confusion erupted in Alameda County, which just became the 30th county added to the list due to rising case numbers there. County officials suddenly ordered all outdoor restaurants to close on Saturday before issuing a notice on Sunday about the watch-list status. Restaurants in the county have only been open for outdoor service for about three weeks, and would have to close again under the order and revert back to only takeout and delivery. But four cities in the county — Oakland, Livermore, Dublin, and Hayward — all separately issued statements saying they would not be enforcing the new county order, leaving restaurant owners confused.
The mayor of Berkeley, Jesse Arreguin, expressed his displeasure about the county order on Saturday, but suggested that he would still enforce the order.
Brace yourselves for a lot more confusion like this for months to come.