California's Newsom creates 'strike teams' to enforce business shutdowns amid coronavirus surge

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The governor said he will rely on state law enforcement - the California Highway Patrol, state park officers, Alcohol Beverage Control and Cal OSHA inspectors, and the offices of Business Oversight and Consumer Affairs to check on parks and scofflaw businesses "for at least three weeks". And it includes major counties too, like Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange, and Sacramento. Officials in Los Angeles County closed beaches for the Fourth of July weekend before Newsom announced his restrictions and Fresno County in the state's Central Valley agricultural heartland had already ordered all bars to close.

Bars were recently closed, although I've seen one or two keeping their doors open for customers...

The new restrictions come as California has reported jumps in both cases and hospitalizations over the past few weeks, including more than 6,000 newly confirmed cases on Monday and another 5,898 on Tuesday. Over the previous 24 hours, 110 people have died from the disease in California, Newsom said.

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Movie theaters were never permitted to re-open in Los Angeles, but have resumed in other parts of the state. The state says it will close state beaches in any county that takes that step. Local health officials have pointed to bars and family gatherings as drivers of the cases.

"It's more education. I'm not coming out with a fist", Newsom insisted, but those on the strike team have licensing and enforcement power over a broad array of businesses that are subject to stringent guidelines. Newsom noted in the Wednesday briefing that an uptick in cases was to be expected. "It's really, really crucial - for this holiday weekend especially - that we not congregate".

Bars in Los Angeles county were ordered to close last weekend, barely a week after re-opening. He added that counties that fail to enforce orders can lose out on state funding. Some jurisdictions have voluntarily slowed or "paused" reopening plans, including more densely populated San Francisco, Alameda and Sacramento counties. The measure also extends remote marriage and drivers license options, waives some Medi-Cal eligibility reviews and lengthens the window for confirmation of some state appointees.

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Restaurants in the affected California counties can continue to offer takeout, delivery and outdoor sit-down service, Newsom stressed.

In that time, hospitalizations increased 51% and ICU admissions increased 47%. As the governor said, people drop their guards and go for embraces. Our actions to slow the spread can not wait-we need to do these actions now and for the weeks ahead in order to prevent even more serious illness and death.

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The county's Public Health Department has not yet issued an order confirming and clarifying the action. But enforcing the new rules will be hard , Newsom said.


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