Governor Gavin Newsom of California issued new edicts on Monday that scaled back the reopening of the nation’s most populous state. All bars statewide must close and restaurants, museums, zoos, and entertainment centers must cease all indoor activities Fox News reported. Outdoor dining and take-out orders are still permitted under the governor’s order. Originally Newsom’s order applied to the 30 counties representing 80% of the state’s population that was on the monitoring list. This list tracks counties where there has been significant increase in positive coronavirus tests. The order was since amended to include the entire state. Fitness centers, hair and nail salons, and places of worship in counties on the monitoring list must also close, the governor said.
Newsom’s action comes after positive tests for COVID – 19 rose 48 percent over the last two weeks. Hospitalizations have risen by nearly as great as margin. CNBC reported 8,358 new cases on Sunday alone. Newsom said that positive tests averaged 8,200 each day for the past week. California averaged over 100,000 tests conducted per day recently, a huge jump in testing potential than in the early days of the pandemic. The Hill reported that Newsom’s order will remain in effect for at least three weeks. The governor’s office emphasized that these new restrictions are not a complete lockdown but safety measures designed to slow the spread of the virus and prevent the state’s medical infrastructure from being overwhelmed by new cases.
Also on Monday Los Angeles Unified and San Diego Unified school districts announced that fall classes for students will be initially conducted online only. Both districts cited the lack of concrete knowledge of the full effects of COVID – 19 on the school-age population. Governor Newsom has not issued any statewide orders related to the school reopening. His office indicated that the governor has delegated that particular responsibility to the individual school districts to determine on a case by case basis.
California was the first state to institute lockdown orders to contain the spread of COVID – 19 after an early case was detected. Early results were promising as the Golden State’s caseload was much lower than that of hard-hit eastern states like New York and New Jersey. Now, however, California leads the nation in confirmed coronavirus cases with the latest totals rising to over 320,000 positive tests.
The shutdown of places of worship has created controversy throughout the nation during the response to the coronavirus crisis with critics charging government overreach into religious affairs and lack of equal treatment of other gatherings of similar size. Newsom’s inclusion of religious services placed the issue once again into the public eye.