Governor Newsom recommends bar closures in Contra Costa, Santa Clara counties

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KGO) -- The governor has ordered numerous counties across the state to close their bars.

The counties under the mandatory bar closure order are: Los Angeles, Fresno, San Joaquin, Kings, Kern, Imperial and Tulare.

State officials asked eight other counties - Contra Costa, Santa Clara, Sacramento, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Santa Barbara and Stanislaus - to issue local health orders closing bars.

Bars are currently closed in Santa Clara County and Contra Costa County. On Sunday, some bars in Walnut Creek were open for outside business. Indoor bars were set to reopen on Wednesday in Contra Costa County, but the governor's recommendations Sunday could change that.

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"I think it's a little ridiculous," said bar patron Dan Finnie of Walnut Creek. "Either we're going to make some real decisions or we're not going to do it at all but going back and forth is just ridiculous."

Bay Area doctors we talked with from both Stanford and UCSF agree that there is reason to be concerned right now.

"We've seen impressive spikes of cases here over the past few days and it's not all about San Quentin and it's not all about nursing homes. This is true community transmission," said Dr. George Rutherford of UCSF.

His thoughts were echoed by Dr. Dean Winslow of the Stanford Health Center: "We do know from the outbreaks that we've had here in the U.S. that clearly the indoor environment is the major one where transmission occurs."

It's those indoor bars that have so many in the medical field worried. In Walnut Creek, Dan's Irish Sports Bar is closed inside but open outside. Similar to other restaurants in the area, some of which were very crowded on Sunday.

"Particularly in the indoor environment, these small particles can be suspended in the air for quite some time so that's the real big concern," says Dr. Winslow.

In Governor Newsom's statement he released Sunday he said, "In these environments alcohol consumption reduces inhibition and impairs judgment, leading to reduced compliance with recommended core personal protective measures, such as the mandatory use of face coverings and the practice of social and physical distancing."

"Californians must remain vigilant against this virus," Newsom said. "COVID-19 is still circulating in California, and in some parts of the state, growing stronger. That's why it is critical we take this step to limit the spread of the virus in the counties that are seeing the biggest increases."

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