California COVID Restrictions Tighten Up, Affecting Restaurants, Gyms And Retailers
California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday that 41 counties in the state, including all but one of the 10 counties that make up Southern California, have been rolled back to the strictest level of coronavirus precautions, effective immediately.
The move comes as daily cases in Calfornia doubled in the last 10 days, the fastest increase the state has seen, Newsom said in a Monday press conference.
The “purple tier” of restrictions means that many nonessential indoor business operations are closed. Newsom said counties that are moved to a more restrictive tier must make the required changes within 24 hours, not within a three-day period that was previously allowed.
Under this tier’s restrictions, restaurants can only offer outside dining, takeout or delivery. Retailers and shopping malls can open but must limit capacity indoors to 25%. Gyms can only have customers outdoors.
“Why are we today sounding this alarm? Because we must keep transmissions low,” California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said. “It is absolutely essential for us to immediately take control of and manage.”
California Retailers Association President Rachel Michelin said her organization recognizes it is imperative to follow the stricter guidelines.
“That said, the vast majority of cases, we are being told, by statewide and numerous county health officials are coming from social gatherings — not businesses being open,” Michelin said.
An August survey from the CRA found that 30% of responding California restaurant owners said they planned to close their restaurant permanently or downsize by closing some locations as a result of the pandemic. Sixty-three percent of respondents had not received any rent relief, while 76% said they needed rent relief.
The CRA urged people to wear masks and follow guidelines at stores they might be visiting as the holiday season ramps up.
Newsom also noted that state officials have not ruled out imposing a curfew, though what that curfew would look like if implemented remains to be seen. In the meantime, additional rules aimed at containing the spread of the coronavirus could be on the way, Newsom warned.