Gov. Newsom warns Californians to follow new health orders ahead of Fourth of July

Newsom has ordered bars, indoor restaurants, movie theaters and more to close in most of CA

ByStephanie Sierra and Alix Martichoux KGO logo
Friday, July 3, 2020
Newsom warns Californians to follow new rules
Gov. Gavin Newsom warns Californians to follow new health orders ahead of Fourth of July in stern warning about coronavirus crisis. On Wednesday he announced mandatory closures in 19 California counties of indoor restaurants, bars and movie theaters.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A day after announcing new mandatory closures in 19 California counties where the coronavirus is spreading rapidly, Gov. Gavin Newsom addressed the complex issue of enforcing new rules.

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The state is launching a massive PSA campaign in an attempt to convince Californians to wear masks. If they don't, Newsom said counties should feel empowered to swap the carrot for the stick.

"If 40 million people want to turn their back on civil society and abuse the rules, laws and regulations on a consistent basis, then society begins to erode," he said. "If you're not seeing behavioral changes then we think citations are appropriate where there's abuse."

He added there's a financial incentive for counties to enforce health orders: The new budget has $2.5 billion in local funding contingent on enforcing orders that county health officers have issued.

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Gov. Gavin Newsom warned Californians to follow the state's new health orders ahead of Fourth of July holiday. He urged people to do the right thing, wear face coverings and utilize common sense.

On Wednesday, Newsom announced the return of some stricter restrictions and business closures ahead of Fourth of July weekend. Effective immediately, restaurants, wineries, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, zoos, museums and cardrooms have to shut down indoor operations. Those businesses can still operate outdoors.

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That applies to 19 counties as of Thursday morning. Those 19 counties represent more than 70% of the state's population.

In the Bay Area, Contra Costa, Santa Clara and Solano counties are affected.

Bars - both indoor and outdoor - have to close in all 19 counties.

These restrictions will remain in place for at least three weeks, Newsom said.

California isn't requiring all beaches to close ahead of the Fourth of July weekend, the governor said, but it is closing parking lots at state beaches in the Bay Area, Southern California, Monterey County and Santa Cruz County.

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Counties with mandatory closures should consider canceling Fourth of July fireworks shows, the governor said, and Californians should not gather with people they do not live with.

Enforcing the new rules will be difficult, Newsom said. He said seven state agencies with regulatory authority would target non-compliant businesses, including the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, the Department of Consumer Affairs and the California Highway Patrol.

"It's more education. I'm not coming out with a fist. We want not come out with an open heart, recognizing the magnitude of some of these modifications," Newsom said.

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If everyone wore a mask, Dr. Bob Wachter said California would squash the surge of new coronavirus cases it's seeing right now. The state is seeing new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations climb every day.

The trends that prompted the ordered closures have only gotten worse. More than 4,000 people tested positive for COVID-19 over the past 24 hours. That brings the positivity rate, or the proportion of people tested for COVID-19 that end up positive, to a 6.3% average over the past two weeks. It was 4.6% two weeks ago.

"That's a very high increase. It may not seem like much to some but every decimal point is profoundly impactful," Newsom said.

Meanwhile, hospitalizations have climbed 56% over the past two weeks and ICU admissions are up 49%.

"Disabuse yourself of the idea that somehow people are no longer dying," Newsom said Wednesday.

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Newsom hopes the new restrictions will help turn the situation, and quickly.

"We were successful in bending that curve. We will be successful again in bending this new curve."

ABC7 News' Melanie Woodrow contributed to this story.

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