California · Highlight

Newsom returns economic shutdown to Valley, vast portions of state

California Gov. Gavin Newsom rolled back various elements of the state’s coronavirus pandemic reopening plan due to the recent rise in COVID-19 cases.

The rollbacks apply to the 19 counties on the state’s targeted engagement list, which includes Fresno, Kern, Kings, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Tulare counties. The 19 counties on the list make up over 70% of California’s population. 

All 19 counties are required to close indoor operations for three weeks in the following sectors: 

  • Restaurants
  • Wineries
  • Tasting rooms
  • Movie theaters
  • Family entertainment centers
  • Zoos 
  • Museums
  • Cardrooms

“This doesn’t mean restaurants shut down,” Newsom said. “It means that we’re trying to take activities, as many activities as we can – these mixed activities, these concentrated activities – and move them outdoors, which is a way of mitigating the spread of this virus.” 

Newsom is also requiring bars in all 19 counties to close for three weeks. 

“The decisions we’re making here today, we do so soberly, but thoughtfully and deliberatively with an idea on mitigating the spread of this virus,” Newsom said. “We’re focusing and targeting local parts of the state where we’re seeing an increase in community spread and we’re seeing an increase in the positivity rate. 

“Not every part of the state is impacted equally, and as a consequence we are not targeting at a state-wide level these rules and regulations. We’re focusing in on areas of concern.” 

With the Fourth of July nearing, Newsom announced that the state is closing all parking facilities at state beaches in Southern California and the Bay Area over the weekend. The beaches themselves will not be closed. 

However, the state will close state beaches in counties that choose to close local beaches. All other state parks will remain open. 

In order to enforce the closures, Newsom said the state is deploying a “strike team” comprised of bureaucratic agencies that will monitor and enforce the public health orders and target non-compliant workplaces.

The strike team includes the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, CalOSHA, the Department of Business Oversight, the Department of Consumer Affairs, CHF and the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology. 

Newsom also threatened to withhold coronavirus relief funding to counties that do not enforce the state’s orders. 

“We reserve the right because we have stipulated and conditioned now that local counties do their share of enforcement, which is the lion’s share of enforcement,” Newsom said. “And if the counties decide not to do that, and that’s their choice, they have that right to choose. And as a consequence, we have a right as a state with the consent of the legislature in a budget that I signed less than 24 hours ago, where there’s $2.5 billion contingent upon good behavior. 

“So we want to reward good behavior – and we’re not here to be punitive as it relates to bad behavior – but if there’s a redundancy in bad behavior, we want to stipulate a fiscal consideration at the county level, and then at the business level we want to encourage good behavior and work to mitigate and address the concerns that may legitimately present themselves.” 

Daniel Gligich
Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.