California · Highlight

Newsom hints at clamping down on reopening ahead of Independence Day

From a coronavirus-centric homeless center in Pittsburg, Gov. Gavin Newsom previewed the tightening of California’s reopening during a Tuesday briefing, as coronavirus cases climb statewide.

With 19 counties on the state’s targeted engagement list – including Fresno, Tulare, Kings, Kern, and Merced counties – Newsom announced that four additional counties were likely to be added by Wednesday.

But his frustration over Californians’ failure to heed the dangers of coronavirus during reopening, and the continued spike, led to him previewing a pullback of economic reopening.

“If you’re not going to stay home, and you’re not going to wear masks in public, we have to enforce, and we will,” he said during the briefing, occasionally speaking over the chants of Black Lives Matter protesters.

The heavier enforcement extended to local governments, with Newsom issuing a stern warning that counties and cities of financial consequences for failing to enforce coronavirus orders locally.

He added that, ahead of the Fourth of July holiday, the state is evaluation county health orders over their enforcement in indoor and outdoor activities, noting that spread is much more likely indoors than outdoors.

With the holiday arriving, Newsom expressed serious worry that family gatherings could compound the current spike.

He noted that family gatherings – much like bar activity and protests – have the potential for people to loosen strict adherence to social distancing and mask requirements.

“They may walk into that barbecue with masks on, they may put the cooler down — immediately the mask comes off,” the governor said, “and you have a glass of water. And all of a sudden nieces and nephews start congregating around, and then they’re jumping on top of Uncle Joe, and then Uncle Joe’s putting them back to Aunt Jane. And all of a sudden here comes Uncle Bob — two hours late. He gives everyone a hug, and they’re all, ‘Hey, Uncle Bob, where’s the mask?’ And Uncle Bob, ‘I don’t believe in that,’ so the whole thing starts to take shape.”

Staff reports from The San Joaquin Valley Sun staff.