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Updated 4:07 p.m., July 2–
By Mike Hazlip– Governor Gavin Newsom on Wednesday announced new enforcement measures aimed at increasing compliance with the state’s order to once again close bars and indoor dining at restaurants in 19 counties.
In a July 1 press conference, the governor said his administration is forming “Strike Teams” with regulatory agencies such as CalOSHA, Department of Consumer Affairs, Alcoholic Beverage Control, and California Highway Patrol, among others.
Mark Ghilarducci, director of the California Office of Emergency Services, said during the press conference these teams will be deployed throughout the state to enforce public health orders through a combination of education and citation. He said the focus will be “building on a partnership of education and information with our local health departments.”
Newsom highlighted 19 counties, including Sacramento, currently on a County Monitoring List. Certain businesses in these counties, including wineries, theaters, family entertainment centers, zoos, and cardrooms, will be ordered to close. Restaurants must close any dine-in eating, but can remain open for take-out, curbside pickup and delivery.
Sacramento County health officials issued a revised order on Thursday, reflecting the governor’s order. It is in effect as of 3 p.m. July 2, and will be in effect for at least three weeks, according to the county’s website.
Wednesday’s announcement came as local bars and restaurants were beginning to return to normal. Steve Dismukes, owner of Corner Pocket Sports Bar, said he will be forced to close while other nearby establishments in Placer County can remain open.
“Roseville is a four-minute drive from here and they’re open,” Dismukes said. “So the bars that are within three or four miles from here, like the Glass Turtle, Mandangos, some of those other places in Placer County, can stay open.”
Placer County is not currently on the state’s watch list. A call to the Glass Turtle Wednesday night confirmed they were open for business.
Dismukes said his employees have all tested negative for the virus, and he hired extra help to frequently clean and sanitize his establishment during business hours. He said those employees will now be laid off, some of whom after working just one day.
Newsom said enforcement will be organized with a focus on education, although the regulatory agencies have authority to enforce fines or suspend business licenses.
The governor announced the state will “engage with an education-first mindset and then a mindset of targeted enforcement to the extent it’s necessary to get people into compliance.”
Sen. Jim Nielsen, who represents Citrus Heights and surrounding areas in the state senate, was quick to condemn Newsom’s order, saying in a social media post that it will “crush many, many small businesses and further deepen the state’s recession.”
The governor’s announcement comes as the positivity rate increased from 4.6% to 6% over the last 14 days statewide, according to the announcement. Positivity is the number of positive test results as a percentage of the total number of tests conducted. Newsom said additional data not included in the presentation brings the seven-day positivity rate to 6.4%.
Information from Johns Hopkins University, shows California reported 105,447 tests, 6,367 of which were positive on June 30. Newsom said the state is now consistently conducting over 100,000 tests each day.
According to Johns Hopkins and World Health Organization guidelines, positivity rates should typically hover around 5% if health care workers are testing a wide enough sample of the overall population.
Sacramento County has seen a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, with 3,397 confirmed cases, as of July 1. Hospitalizations have also risen significantly since mid-May, when the county reported 12 hospitalizations and five patients with COVID-19 in the ICU.
As of July 1, that number has now risen to 106 hospitalizations, with 29 in the ICU.
Cases countywide have nearly tripled since May 14, while associated deaths have risen more gradually, from 54 up to the current death toll of 68, according to county health data.
A total of 149 cases of COVID-19 have now been confirmed in Citrus Heights, with eight associated deaths. The most recent deaths were reported on May 14.
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