In light of a continual upward trend in COVID-19 cases across Sacramento and California at large, Governor Gavin Newsom announced a new set of restrictions at a press conference on Monday.
The measures mandate the closing of bars, indoor-eating restaurants, churches, hair and nail salons, gyms, malls, movie theaters, and others. Restaurants will be allowed to continue take-out services and outdoor-eating.
“One thing I just think is incredibly important to remind all of you is that this virus is not going away anytime soon,” Governor Newsom added, during the conference. “[…] it’s incumbent upon all of us to recognize, soberly, that COVID-19 is not going away anytime soon, until there is a vaccine and or an effective therapy.”
The changes are effective in the now 31 counties that the State of California is currently monitoring for potentially dangerous COVID-19 developments.
Sacramento, in particular, is listed as at-risk due to “community transmission due to holiday gatherings amongst large families”. The release recommends increased messaging regarding preventative measures and an increase in testing in ‘hot-spot communities’. The City of Sacramento had recently closed five testing centers, four of which are scheduled to reopen the week of July 13th.
Yolo County is taking additional precautions by announcing a fine for refusing to comply with state health codes. If a restaurant does not enforce a mandatory masks for customers policy, for example, they could be charged between $250 and $10,000 according to the ordinance.
The decision to implement the fine was passed with a 5-0 majority by the Yolo County Board of Supervisors. Spokesperson Jenny Tan commented that the fine is intended for businesses that are ‘willfully non-compliant’ and that it is primarily “another tool in our tool chest, for businesses that just will not comply.”
Sacramento County is currently experiencing high case rates, with over 5,000 COVID-19 cases currently recorded, over half of which are still active. Additionally, there has been an approximate 90% increase in hospitalization rates in the past two weeks.
The increase in new cases and new restrictions have created uncertainties with regards to the scheduled reopening date for schools in the Sacramento City Unified School District that had been planned for September 3rd.
“While our goal is to Return Together with both a distance learning and blended model on September 3, we have been very clear that we must be prepared to adjust our plans based on public health conditions and recommendations from state and county health officials,” said Sacramento City Unified Superintendent Jorge Aguilar in a recent interview.
At present, a definite timeline for California to re-open has not been announced.