California shuts bars in some areas as U.S. infections hit record numbers


The counties where bars will be forced to close are Fresno, Imperial, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, San Joaquin, and Tulare. Those on the watch list that have not yet been ordered to take additional precautions are Contra Costa, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Stanislaus and Ventura.

On Friday, Florida suspended alcohol consumption at bars across the state after the local health department reported over 8,000 new COVID-19 cases, a record high. "This includes closing bar areas in restaurants", Los Angeles County said in a statement.

"Whether we continue on this recovery journey is debatable", Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) said in his Monday evening briefing to the city.

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The rise marks a grim reversal for California, where Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) imposed the country's first statewide stay-at-home order on March 19, a politically risky move at the time but one that signaled a resolve to control the virus early as it exploded on the East Coast. Wineries and tasting rooms are not included in this recommendation. Wear a face covering and keep physically distant outside the home.

"We are now in a position where we are working with (Imperial) county officials and advising them to pull back and once again reinstitute their stay-at-home orders", Newsom said Friday at a tool factory. "They create an environment anchored in significantly high levels of community mixing of individuals outside of one's own household, increasing the risk escalating the R-effective, or effective transmission rate, of COVID-19". "There is still an opportunity to make a difference in the course of this pandemic, but we must all recommit to this effort". The state is now closely monitoring 19 counties for surges in cases - which recently have skewed toward younger residents - and hospitalizations, which still largely affect older residents and those with underlying health conditions.

The latest upsurge, pushing the nation's total of declared cases to more than 2.5 million and its death toll past 125,000, has prompted a growing chorus of calls for much tougher rules and enforcement of restrictions. However, health officials stated some percentages of cases are decreasing and hospitals are equipped to handle a potential increase of patients. The county is now recording 28 deaths and 53 daily hospitalizations.