California Gov. Gavin Newsom is already considering more reversals on the state’s reopening after the coronavirus lockdown.
It was just last week that Newsom said a pull back on all areas of California’s economic reopening was not the plan, despite an increase in daily cases of the coronavirus. “I think we move forward more safely and work our way through this without having to toggle back,” he said. Now, the governor is planning to announce tomorrow some measures to enact “that dimmer switch we’ve mentioned,” he said during a daily tele-briefing, meaning a reversion of some aspects of the reopening.
And the announcements on Wednesday will not focus only on the upcoming Fourth of July holiday weekend, one of the biggest for the state’s beaches and parks. Los Angeles County has already announced that all of its beaches will go back to being closed to the public, as a reopening of beaches that technically prohibits any passive recreation has been openly flouted and not enforced to any degree by local authorities.
“It’s going beyond just the Fourth of July,” Newsom said. “We’re looking at issues of community spread throughout the economy.”
He noted indoor areas specifically, saying: “We have to recognize the spread at indoor facilities is much more probable that in an outdoor setting.”
On Sunday, Newsom abruptly ordered seven counties, including Los Angeles, to re-close all bars and recommended that another eight do so preemptively. A number of other states have also either started to reverse reopening their economies, including Arizona, Texas and Florida — the latter two were among the first states to fully reopen several weeks ago. Other states like Washington, Oregon, Idaho and North Carolina, among a few others, have paused reopenings as cases of the virus start to rise dramatically in nearly every U.S. state.
Newsom noted Tuesday that new data on the virus in the state is “concerning.” In California overall, the number of positive cases, hospitalizations and people in intensive care related to the virus are all on the rise. The positive rate for tests, so the total number of the tested population that has COVID-19, is up to 5.6 percent over the last two weeks from a previous rate of 4.4 percent, showing a spread of the virus that is not accounted for by an increase in testing. Hospitalizations are up 6.3 percent and ICU cases are up 4.3 percent.
It’s these numbers, all of which were down significantly just a few weeks ago when California suddenly decided to start a phased reopening plan that early on included in-store retail, that led Newsom to start re-closing bars, he said.
Another issue is continued refusal by some members of the public to wear masks while out. Although Newsom mandated two weeks ago that everyone in the state is required to wear a mask in public, especially in any setting where there are other people around, mask-wearing is still not the norm. And enforcement at the local level is non-existent. Newsom tacitly admitted that, and mentioned counties that refuse to enforce mask-wearing in public may have the public budgets impacted going forward.
“If you’re not going to stay at home and then you’re not going to wear masks in public, we will have to enforce it,” Newsom said. “We will bend the curve again, mark my word, we will crush this pandemic, but we all have to be tougher.”