Covid 19 coronavirus: Bars, restaurants close in California as virus surges

California authorities have said many things contributed to the increase, including people not following the state's mandate to wear masks and gathering socially with friends and relatives.

"Please disabuse yourself that people are no longer dying", Newsom said.

Newsom's order came as the state reported its highest daily COVID-19 count Monday with 8,000 infections and multiple days with new highs.

But conditions in the 19 counties under the new order require more vigilance, Newsom said, especially ahead of the Fourth of July holiday weekend, when people will want to go out to celebrate.

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The new restrictions, Newsom said, will be enforced by a "multi-agency strike team" made up of the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, the Department of Business Oversight, the Department of Consumer Affairs and the California Highway Patrol.

The order affects Los Angeles and 18 other counties where almost three-quarters of the state's roughly 40 million people live.

California's COVID-19 positivity rate has crept up to 6% in the last two weeks, a key indicator of community spread, according to Gov. Newsom. "With steep increases in cases and hospitalizations, it is important to act now to prevent as many future cases, hospitalizations and deaths as we can", said Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer.

According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) nearly half of bars and 33 percent of the restaurants inspected last weekend were not following social distancing rules and employees were not wearing masks or face shields at 54 percent of the bars and 44 percent of the restaurants. About 500 more patients were sick enough for intensive care treatment, bringing the state total to 1528 in ICUs. Next door, in Orange County, which previously attracted the governor's ire for beach crowding and has emerged as a hotbed for backlash against health officials, most beaches are open, including popular Huntington Beach and Newport Beach. However, the city of Laguna Beach cancelled July 4 fireworks and closed its beaches, albeit only for the holiday on Saturday. It was Imperial County.

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While testing has increased in the state, the number of new cases has outpaced the rise in tests.

Parking facilities at all state beaches will close for the weekend as well.

The shutdowns will remain in place for at least three weeks, Newsom said.

Among the new authorizations in the executive order signed Tuesday night are the option for local governments to halt evictions for renters impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic through September 30 - a move that housing advocates say is necessary to prevent a wave of mass displacement in high-cost areas.

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