September 20, 2020

Coronavirus: California reimposes sweeping restrictions amid virus spike

A worker cleans inside a restaurant in Glendale, California. Photo: June 2020 Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption All indoor activities in restaurants are now banned across California

California has reimposed restrictions on businesses and public spaces amid a spike of coronavirus infections in America’s most populous state.

Governor Gavin Newsom on Monday ordered an immediate halt to all indoor activities at restaurants, bars, entertainment venues, zoos and museums.

In the worst-affected counties of the south-western US state, churches, gyms and hairdressers will also close.

California has more than 330,000 Covid-19 cases, with more than 7,000 deaths.

The reimposition of the restrictions in the state with nearly 40 million people was prompted by a 20% rise in people testing positive in the past two weeks.

Increasing numbers of Californians are now needing intensive care.

What did Governor Newsom say?

The Democratic governor warned on Monday that “this virus is not going away anytime soon”.

“I hope all of us recognise that if we were still connected to some notion that somehow when it gets warm it’s going to go away or somehow it’s going to take summer months or weekends off – this virus has done neither.

“We are now effective today requiring all counties to close their indoor activities, their indoor operations in the following sectors: restaurants, wineries, tasting rooms, movie theatres, family entertainment centres, zoos and museums, card rooms and the shuttering of all bars.

“This is in every county in the state of California,” the governor said.

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Media captionThe lost six weeks when the US failed to control the virus

The new measures reverse the easing of the state’s strict lockdown in May and then again in June, when restaurants, bars and gyms reopened with in counties that met the state’s safety guidelines.

Other US states could now follow Governor Newsom’s lead as infections continue to surge in America’s south.

There are currently over 3.3 million confirmed Covid-19 cases across the country, and more than 135,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.