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Napa and Monterey Restaurants to Reclose Dining Rooms as Coronavirus Cases Climb

Bars must also cease all service, indoors and out

US-EARTHQUAKE
Coronavirus cases in Napa County have hit a new high, prompting the closure of indoor dining and bars
Photo credit should read Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

Napa County’s restaurant dining rooms, indoor wineries, and bars will be required to close Thursday, after the region saw its highest uptick in new cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) since the pandemic began. Those businesses must also close in all of Monterey County, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday, as the coastal area joined a statewide watchlist of counties with dangerously high infection rates.

The move to reclose indoor dining, bars without food, and other so-called high-risk activities kicked off last Wednesday, when Newsom announced that 19 of the state’s 58 counties must cease indoor dining and foodless drinking for the next three weeks, after a surge in infection rates raised red flags at the state Department of Public Health (DPH).

Several of the counties on the list, such as Contra Costa, had yet to launch indoor dining, so the disruption was minimal. Others, like Solano County, had reopened indoor dining and drinking as of May 21, and were forced to close. Still others, like Santa Clara County, hadn’t reopened for indoor activities, were on the State’s list, improved enough to be removed, and then learned that the state DPH claims that outdoor dining was never approved in the area. It is, needless to say, a confusing time.

Since last week’s announcement, Marin County has also halted indoor dining (which had just resumed on June 29): Even setting aside the outbreak at San Quentin State Prison (1,378 inmates and 165 staff infected as of Monday morning, the Marin Independent Journal reports), the region saw its highest-ever jump in reported cases over the July 4 weekend. San Francisco is also expected to officially announce today that indoor dining — which had been scheduled to resume on July 13 — will be paused for an indeterminate period.

Napa County, one of the Bay Area’s first counties to reopen indoor dining, wine tasting, and (as of mid-June) bars, announced late Monday that the area will also reclose indoor dining and wine tasting, the Napa Valley Register reports. In addition, the area’s bars, brewpubs, breweries, and pubs must cease indoor and outdoor service, officials say. The closure kicks off at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, July 9, and will continue until at least July 30. Like Marin, Napa also saw its largest single increase in daily coronavirus cases over the July 4 holiday, an increase that placed it on the statewide watchlist.

Down the coast, Monterey County has also been ordered to roll back reopening, the Californian reports. According to county health officer Edward Moreno, the region learned of the shutdown via a tweet Newsom posted at 12:21 p.m. on Monday. Moreno says that the state has yet to officially notify Monterey County of the shutdown, and told Monterey County Weekly that “he would wait for written communication from the state to respond to Newsom’s request.”

According to the Bay Area News Group, over the last week, California added over 7,000 new cases a day, and the percentage of positive coronavirus tests rose past 7 percent. According to the World Health Organization, safe reopenings are only possible if a region has a positive test percentage below 5 percent. As of Monday morning, only 23 U.S. states are at or below that percentage.

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