California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday that he is re-closing indoor dining statewide due to rising COVID cases in the state.
The mandate also covers wineries, movie theaters, zoos, museums, and cardrooms. Bars must close indoor and outdoor operations. Restaurants can continue operating via off-premises and by moving activities outdoors.
The new order comes about two weeks after Newsom closed dining rooms in 19 counties, including Los Angeles.
On Sunday, California reported 8,358 new cases of COVID-19. Last week, the state set a record with more than 9,500 reported cases in a day. The seven-day average number of new cases is 8,211 per day. California now has more than 325,000 positive cases and more than 7,000 deaths.
Nationwide, states are pulling back on reopening plans as COVID cases continue to spike. On July 9, New Mexico re-closed dining rooms.
“The virus has been unleashed: Too many of us are still not wearing masks,” said New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in a statement. “Too many of us are still congregating in groups, taking risks with our own lives and endangering the health of our family members, our neighbors and our state. This virus does not discriminate. But we know prolonged exposure without face-coverings—as is the case in high-contact indoor settings—is a significant risk factor.”
Cities such as Atlanta, Pittsburgh, and Miami decided to shut down in-restaurant dining, as well. Texas and Arizona reduced their capacity limits to 50 percent and closed bars. New York and New Jersey delayed the reopening of dining rooms.
Texas—one of the highest-rising states in terms of COVID—reported a record-high 10,351 new cases on Saturday. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said the state should shut down for a couple of weeks to get the caseload under control.
“We have to acknowledge the fact that we opened too quickly, too soon,” said Turner during a press conference. “We have to acknowledge the fact that the numbers are continuing to rise. We have to recognize the fact that not everybody is going to put on this mask.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott indicated that if people didn’t follow the face mask mandate, another shutdown could be in the state’s future.
“It was our last best effort to slow the spread of COVID-19,” Abbott told a local television station last week. “If we do not slow the spread of COVID-19 … the next step would have to be a lockdown.”
The Independent Restaurant Coalition said California’s move is another sign that Congress should pass a relief program for the restaurant industry. The RESTAURANTS Act, introduced in June, would provide $120 billion for independents and small chains.
“Restaurants placing their first supply orders since March can’t turn the delivery trucks around. These re-closings are creating more debt for businesses that were just beginning to find their footing after accumulating four months of unpaid bills,” said Caroline Styne, member of the Independent Restaurant Coalition Advisory Board and chef, partner of the Los Angeles-based Lucques Group, in a statement. “Outdoor dining isn’t a long-term solution as not all independent restaurants have the ability or resources to seat customers outside. Members of Congress from states closing down dining rooms need to support the RESTAURANTS Act, and give their independent restaurants a fighting chance at reopening when it’s safe to do so. Over 530,000 jobs in California depend on Senators Feinstein, Harris and all their colleagues taking immediate action.”
More than 3.3 million cases and 135,000 deaths have been reported in the U.S.