Yesterday, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced the mandatory closure of bars in Los Angeles County in order to limit the spread of COVID-19. The governor cited the social nature of bars, the potential for alcohol consumption to reduce inhibition and impair judgment and the challenges of contact tracing among bar-goes, among the reasons for the action.
The mandatory closure went into effect last night, just after midnight (12:01 a.m., June 29, 2020), and affects brewpubs, craft distilleries, breweries, bars, pubs, wineries and associated tasting rooms that do not have a restaurant permit. Restaurants, brewpubs, breweries, bars, pubs, craft distilleries and wineries and associated tasting rooms that have a restaurant permit may continue to operate, but the seated bar area(s) in these facilities must remain closed and people cannot gather in the bar area. The amended City of Long Beach Health Order detailing the closures will be posted later today at longbeach.gov/COVID19.
Public health professionals within California and throughout the nation have identified bars as the highest risk sector of non-essential business currently open.
The State has developed a monitoring list for Counties that focuses on key COVID-19 indicators such as positivity rate, case rate, stability of hospitalizations, and hospital surge capacity. Counties that do not meet the criteria are placed on the monitoring list. Those that have been on the list for over 14 days are required to close bars.
Mandatory bar closures affect the following counties:
- Los Angeles
- San Joaquin
Under the State guidelines for the reopening process, Long Beach, which has its own Health Department, is counted with Los Angeles County. However, even if the State considered Long Beach separately, Long Beach data would also place it on this mandated closure list.
The State also recommends, but does not mandate, bar closures in six other counties: Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Stanislaus and Ventura. These counties have been on the monitoring list for more than three days but less than 14.