SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Public Health and California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Sunday, June 28, released guidance on the closure of bars for counties on the County Monitoring List.

The department recommended that counties on the County Monitoring List for three or more consecutive days, but less than 14 days, close bars through local health officer order (or do not allow for the opening if bars have not yet been allowed to open in the county). Counties which have been on the list for 14 days or more are required to immediately close bars.

Statewide, five counties have been ordered to close their bars. San Bernardino County was placed on the County Monitoring List on Sunday, June 21, and is among six counties recommended to close its bars.

According to San Bernardino County Public Information Officer David Wert, county staff is reviewing the governor’s action as it prepares to respond.

Guidance for closure of bars in counties on County Monitoring List

“Californians must remain vigilant against this virus,” said Newsom. “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. Each of us has the power to limit the spread of this virus. Wear a face covering and keep physically distant outside the home. Don’t gather in groups, and if you are older or have a condition that puts you at higher risk of COVID-19, protect yourself by staying home.”

"California is using data and science to guide our response to COVID-19. We are actively monitoring COVID-19 across the state and working closely with counties where there are increased rates and concerning patterns of transmission. Closing bars in these counties is one of a number of targeted actions counties are implementing across our state to slow the virus’ spread and reduce risk,” said Dr. Sonia Angell, State Public Health Officer and director of the California Department of Public Health. “We all have our part in the fight against community spread of COVID 19. If you go out then remember, wear a face covering, keep your distance and wash your hands frequently.”

According to California Department of Public Health, community spread of COVID-19 continues to be a concern across the state, and in particular for counties on the County Monitoring List. Community spread increases the likelihood of expanded transmission of COVID-19 in settings such as nursing homes, homeless shelters, jails and prisons. Counties will continue to take action to limit the transmission of COVID-19, including reinstituting community measures such as the closure of bars.

Impacted counties

Recommended bar closure:

• Riverside

• Sacramento

• San Bernardino

• Santa Barbara

• Stanislaus

• Ventura

Mandatory bar closure:

• Fresno

• Kern

• Kings

• Los Angeles

• Tulare

Bars are social environments where groups of people mix. 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. Bars are generally louder environments requiring raised voices leading to the greater projection of droplets. These factors present a higher likelihood of transmission of COVID-19 within groups, between groups, and among the workforce. Public health professionals within California and throughout the nation have identified bars as the highest risk sector of non-essential business currently open. Beyond the higher risk of transmission in bar settings, contract tracing, a key measure needed to control spread, is also more challenging in bars because of the constant mixing among patrons and a lack of record-keeping of those in attendance.

More information about the state's COVID-19 guidance is on the California Department of Public Health's Guidance web page.

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