July 14, 2020 -- With coronavirus cases and deaths surging, California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday announced a wide-ranging rollback in the state’s economic reopening. The sweeping rollback shuts down indoor operations of restaurants, wineries, movie theaters, bowling alleys, and museums across the state.
Newsom ordered all bars, brewpubs, and pubs – whether they operate indoors or outdoors -- to close. Additionally, the governor said indoor operations of fitness centers, places of worship, hair salons, barbershops, and malls must close in 30 hard-hit counties.
“We are moving back into a modification mode of our original stay-at-home order, but doing so using what is commonly referred to as a dimmer switch, not an on and off switch,” Newsom said during in a news conference.
Newsom was the first governor to order a lockdown during the pandemic. But as businesses were allowed to reopen, case counts began to rise and he took steps to curb the spread of the virus.
On June 18 he ordered facial coverings be worn in indoor spaces. On July 1 he shut down most indoor businesses in 19 hard-hit counties.
Still, the numbers have gone up, making the Golden State a coronavirus hotspot.
California is now averaging 8,000 new cases in a 24-hour period and the state’s COVID-19 tracking page says the positivity rate on testing has hit 7.7%. The World Health Organization says a state’s positivity rate should be 5% or less before an economy should reopen.
In the last 14 days, the number of people hospitalized for coronavirus has increased almost 28%, the tracking page says. Overall California has reported more than 320,000 cases and 7,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Also on Monday, the Los Angeles and San Diego school districts announced that students will not return to classrooms in the fall but will only receive online education.
The decisions by the two massive school districts goes against President Donald Trump, who has been urging schools to reopen classrooms. But the school districts said the surge or coronavirus cases, especially in Southern California, makes that a bad idea now.
“The skyrocketing infection rates of the past few weeks make it clear the pandemic is not under control,” the two school districts said in a joint statement. “Therefore, we are announcing that the new school year will start online only. Instruction will resume on Aug.18 in Los Angeles Unified and Aug. 31 in San Diego Unified, as previously scheduled. Both districts will continue planning for a return to in-person learning during the 2020-21 academic year, as soon as public health conditions allow.”
In a separate statement, Austin Beutner, the superintendent of Los Angeles Unified School District, said that “Federal officials have recently suggested students need to be in school and, like a Nike ad, told educators ‘Just Do It. …’ “While Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz might have said ‘Tap your heels together three times and say, “There’s no place like home” and you’ll be there,’ actually returning to schools is not so simple.”
He said the federal government could help by providing schools more funding to make classrooms safe.