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California shuts bars, indoor dining and most gyms and churches

Overall, California has reported more than 329,100 cases and over 7,000 deaths.

People pray in a California church on Sunday.
People pray in a California church on Sunday.
Image: Marcio Jose Sanchez

CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR GAVIN Newsom has extended the closure of bars and indoor dining statewide and ordered gyms, churches and hair salons to close in most places as coronavirus cases keep rising.

On 1 July, he ordered 19 counties with a surging number of confirmed infections to close bars and indoor operations at restaurants, wineries, zoos and family entertainment centres like bowling alleys and miniature golf.

The Democratic governor extended that order statewide yesterday.

He also imposed additional restrictions on the 30 counties now with rising numbers, including the most populated of Los Angeles and San Diego, by ordering worship services to stop and gyms, hair salons, indoor malls and offices for non-critical industries to shut down.

“The data suggests not everybody is practicing common sense,” said Newsom, whose order takes effect immediately.

He did not include schools, which are scheduled to resume in a few weeks in much of the state, but the two largest school districts, San Diego and Los Angeles, announced their students would start the school year with online learning only.

In March, California was the first state to issue a mandatory, statewide stay-at-home order to slow the spread of coronavirus. The order appeared to work as cases stabilised in the ensuing weeks while other states grappled with huge increases.

But the order devastated the world’s fifth-largest economy, with more than 7.5 million people filing for unemployment benefits.

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Newsom moved quickly to let most businesses reopen in May. Like other states that took similar steps, a subsequent rise in cases and hospital admissions led him to impose new restrictions this month.

He has compared his strategy of opening and closing businesses to a “dimmer switch”, highlighting the flexibility needed as public health officials monitor the virus’s progress

California confirmed 8,358 new coronavirus cases on Sunday. Cases have increased 47% over the past two weeks, while hospital admissions have jumped 28% during the same period.

Overall, California has reported more than 329,100 cases and over 7,000 deaths.

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