Coronavirus: California shuts bars, indoor dining and most gyms and churches

140720 los angeles bar california lockdown AP
Bars across California have been shut. Credit: AP

California governor Gavin Newsom has extended the closure of bars and indoor dining statewide and ordered gyms, churches and hair salons to shut in most places as coronavirus cases keep rising in the nation’s most populated state.

On July 1, Mr Newsom 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 on Monday.

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 practising common sense,” said Mr Newsom, whose order came into 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.

California Governor Gavin Newsom's orders are effective immediately. Credit: AP

California's lockdown comes as the US as a whole struggles with increasing cases - accounting for around a quarter of the world's 13 million cases.

At the weekend, Florida recorded the largest single-day increase in cases in any state since the beginning of the pandemic, with 15,299 recorded.

Those numbers came at the end of a record-breaking week as Florida reported 514 fatalities – an average of 73 per day.

On Saturday, the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom reopened at Walt Disney World in Orlando, concerning health experts who have urged people not to gather in groups.

Park guests enter the Magic Kingdom during the reopening of Walt Disney World. Credit: AP

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.

Mr 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 more than 7,000 deaths.