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California Completely Shuts Down Indoor Dining and Bars

Meanwhile, some cities in Alameda County say they won’t honor a state-mandated ban on outdoor dining

Coronavirus Pandemic California
Diners in California must remain outdoors, Governor Gavin Newsom announced Monday
Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images

This report has been significantly updated throughout with the breaking news that all indoor dining and bars have been shut down across California.

Midday Monday, all indoor dining was ordered to cease in California for every one of the state’s 58 counties, even those that as of yet, had not demonstrated a problematic increase in cases of the new coronavirus (COVID-19). The decision follows a weekend roiled by shutdowns, as Alameda County learned that it hadn’t even been approved for outdoor dining (and, therefore, was required to cease it immediately), and Sonoma County was ordered to cease sit-down dining operations prior to the blanket shutdown.

In his noon update on the state’s response to COVID-19, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that indoor operations must close for all restaurants and wineries, with only outdoor dining allowed, Eater LA reports. Bars without food must shutter all operations, Newsom said. The shutdown takes effect immediately.

Prior to Monday’s announcement, only counties that had been on a statewide watchlist of regions in which coronavirus cases were spiking were ordered to cease operations, with Sonoma County ordered to close indoor and bars down as of early Monday. As of July 1, Newsom said that 19 counties out of the state’s 58 had been on the list for three days, and were required cease indoor operations for the next three weeks. As of Monday morning, that list had grown to 31 counties (Bay Area counties are in bold): Alameda, Colusa, Contra Costa, Fresno, Glenn, Imperial, Kings, Los Angeles, Madera, Marin, Merced, Monterey, Napa, Orange, Placer, Riverside, Sacramento, San Benito, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Joaquin, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tulare, Ventura, Yolo, and Yuba counties.

Alameda County was just added to that watchlist this weekend, but their problems go beyond indoor dining and bars. Late Friday, the county — which had been open for sit-down, outdoor dining since June 19 — learned that the state had never approved the region’s reopening of outdoor dining, prompting an announcement that all restaurants and bars with food must revert to takeout service only until the relevant paperwork as filed.

KPIX reports that four cities across Alameda County — Livermore, Hayward, Oakland, and Dublin — would not enforce the state’s outdoor dining ban, giving bars and restaurants tacit permission to keep serving those who are seated outside. But that lack of enforcement won’t protect restaurants if state regulators arrive for a crackdown, Oakland City Administrator Ed Reiskin (yes, that Ed Reiskin) admitted in a written statement.

“The state may enforce the ban on outdoor dining in Alameda County, including issuing citations,” Reiskin said. “We share this information so business owners may make informed decisions on their daily operations...This latest information from the county is confusing and contradicts the previous Alameda County Health Officer Order allowing outdoor dining, and we share your frustration.”

Alameda County officials say that they’ll file the paperwork needed to comply with the state order some time this week, which means that, if approved, they’ll be as open as any other county in the state: No bars without food, no indoor dining, but outdoor, delivery, and takeout still going strong.

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