In a step backward in the re-opening of California’s economy, Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered the immediate shutdown of all indoor operations for restaurants, movie theaters, wineries, zoos, museums and cardrooms in 19 counties on Wednesday.
Kern County is among those affected by the order, according to California Department of Public Health.
Newsom stressed that he was not shutting down restaurants, and that those facilities can continue to serve meals outdoors. Newsom said the restrictions will remain in place for at least three weeks.
The order comes as all 19 counties have registered on a COVID-19 watchlist for at least three weeks. All of the counties have seen huge spikes in novel coronavirus cases since the Memorial Day weekend holiday.
Newsom had already ordered the closure of all bars in the affected counties and Newsom stressed with the Fourth of July holiday coming up, it was important to curb an even larger outbreak.
“We’ve got Fourth of July weekend coming up. One of the areas of biggest concern as it relates to the spread of COVID-19 in the state remains family gatherings, not just bars, not just out in the streets where people are protesting,” Newsom said. “It’s specifically family gatherings, where extended and immediate family members begin to mix and take down their guard.”
In addition, Southern California beaches will face closure over the Fourth of July weekend, with Los Angeles County already making the announcement. Newsom said the state would close all state beach parking lots, though the beaches themselves would remain open.
Newsom stressed that any county or local government holding public firework displays should cancel them.
Newsom also hinted at re-implementing some stay-at-home restrictions but didn’t specify whether it would be statewide or apply to affected areas.
The governor added that the state will be looking at enforcing its mandate.
Since Newsom implemented a statewide stay-out-home order on March 19 to flatten the curve of COVID-19, nearly every sector of businesses in California have taken a hit. The state posted huge jobless rates and found itself impacted by a $54 billion budget deficit that the state just addressed with a $202 billion budget.
At the county level, Kern County’s own budget saw painful reductions as the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday adopted a preliminary $3 billion FY 2021 budget calling for a 7.5% reduction in most of its departments and cut overtime pay for county firefighters. The preliminary budget serves as a placeholder until the final budget is adopted in August.