Governor Gavin Newsom (D) announced on Wednesday afternoon that California would be unveiling new regulations for multiple types of businesses across 19 counties, including Los Angeles County. In total, the areas represent roughly 70% of the state’s population of 40 million people.
During a press conference, Newsom said the closures were focused on the indoor portions of businesses, including restaurants, wineries and tasting rooms, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, zoos, museums, and cardrooms.
“This doesn’t mean restaurants shut down. 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,” he said.
Data from the the Los Angeles Times shows the positivity rate for coronavirus tests has been increasing gradually over the past week, and is now at a seven-day average of 5.9%. The largest share of confirmed positive cases in California skew younger, particularly in the 18-34 range, while the largest share of deaths occur in people over the age of 80.
The governor also said that he wasn’t “naive” about the difficulties of enforcing coronavirus measures in a state of 40 million people, and that he wanted to ask Californians to exercise personal responsibility “in the spirit of our Founding Fathers” and the Fourth of July holiday.
Newsom immediately followed up with details about his new enforcement “strike team,” which he suggested was educational in nature, but acknowledged it would target businesses that aren’t complying with coronavirus health and safety regulations.
The multi-agency teams would include the department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, the California Highway Patrol, and the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology, among others, and would coordinate enforcement with local authorities, he said.
“Again, it’s more education, I’m not coming out with a fist,” said Newsom, who later suggested that there wasn’t a purpose in having rules, regulations, and laws if the government wasn’t willing to enforce them.
“It’s targeted, it’s where there’s abuses, where there’s a redundancy of complaints, and it’s done in a collaborative spirit in partnership with counties and cities,” said Newsom.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the governor has also threatened to withhold coronavirus funding for governments that don’t follow public health orders.
Newsom also said that his administration would be closing parking lots at state beaches in Southern California and in the Bay Area — although not the beaches themselves — ahead of the Fourth of July weekend.
When Fox News Los Angeles Anchor Elex Michaelson asked the governor in a phone call why beach parking lots would be closed, Newsom responded: “It is [better] if you’re not there with 250,000 others. Therein lies the problem, it’s the intensity of the individuals all congregating…”
Why close down beach parking lots? Isn’t it better to be outside than inside re: #covid19.
I asked @GavinNewsom in a phone interview.
“It is [better] if you’re not there with 250,000 others. Therein lies the problem, its the intensity of individuals all congregating…”
— Elex Michaelson (@Elex_Michaelson) July 1, 2020
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