Governor Gavin Newsom ordered the closing of bars in Seven Counties in California. Los Angeles is one of those counties, which directly impacts the City of West Hollywood. The shutdown is in response to California’s surge in coronavirus infections and increasing hospitalizations after reopening most sectors over the past month. The move comes two days after Republican governors in Texas and Florida closed bars after seeing concerning levels of coronavirus spread in their states.
“NEW: Due to the rising spread of #COVID19, CA is ordering bars to close in Fresno, Imperial, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, San Joaquin, and Tulare, while recommending they close in Contra Costa, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Stanislaus, & Ventura,” reads a tweet from his official Twitter account, which was posted today at 12:17pm.
NEW: Due to the rising spread of #COVID19, CA is ordering bars to close in Fresno, Imperial, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, San Joaquin, and Tulare, while recommending they close in Contra Costa, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Stanislaus, & Ventura.
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) June 28, 2020
Bars were allowed to re-open in West Hollywood last weekend , on Friday June 19, as part of a revised Health Officer Order from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health to further ease restrictions on certain businesses like bars, nail salons, spas, tattoo parlors and other activities, as it continues to move the County of Los Angeles into Stage 3 of California’s Pandemic Resilience Roadmap. The revised June 18 Health Officer Order Reopening Safer at Work and in the Community for Control of COVID-19 is available on the LA County Public Health website at http://ph.lacounty.gov/coronavirus.
The City of West Hollywood, in adhering to West Hollywood Municipal Code and to LA County Public Health Orders, allowed lounges and nightclubs to operate as bars if doing so in compliance with protocols for bars established in the Health Order. No live entertainment, acts, or dancing was permitted; customers must be seated when ordering and consuming alcohol. Permitted occupancy for bars, according to protocols, is set at 50 percent of maximum occupancy and social (physical) distancing and face covering requirements must be met.
Not all bars/nightclubs were quick to re-open. Micky’s, Rage, Flaming Saddles and Revolver Video Bar in WeHo’s LGBT Rainbow district remained shuttered, while Trunks Bar, Rocco’s, Mother Lode, Beaches and The Abbey had lines snaking down the street. Photos taken by WEHO TIMES in West Hollywood last weekend, show people not wearing masks, not adhering to social distancing guidelines while standing in line and people were seen standing in the patios of local bars. No one was seen monitoring the lines to make sure patrons were social distancing.
California’s daily average of new cases has soared over the past week, which Newsom has acknowledged is not solely due to expanded testing availability. The state’s positivity rate has climbed above 5 percent, while the number of people requiring hospitalization has increased by 29 percent over the past week.
The move today marks the first time the California governor has closed a sector that he had previously allowed to open during the pandemic. The seven counties that must close have been on the state’s watch list for at least two weeks. All but Los Angeles are located in the Central Valley, which has seen rapidly rising infections and hospitalizations. Newsom recommended eight additional counties close their bars. Those counties have not been ordered to close yet, but have been on the watch list for at least three days and include Santa Clara, Riverside and Sacramento. The recent shutdown does not mention restaurant/bars that have already been open for dining in.
The City of West Hollywood has declared a local emergency in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. While Los Angeles County is allowing for a phased reopening of some businesses and activities, coronavirus transmission and COVID-19 disease remain a serious risk.
When in public, community members should maintain your space with social (physical) distancing of at least six feet, and cover your face to adhere to City requirements for the use of face coverings. Face coverings are not required for young children under two-years-old; children between two- and eight-years-old should only wear face coverings with adult supervision; and people with certain medical conditions are exempt from this requirement. Public Health officials recommend cloth face coverings so that medical-grade and N95 masks may be prioritized in the supply chain for healthcare workers and first responders.
The City encourages residents to remain home as much as is practical and limit close contact with others outside of a household. Additionally, people 65 years old or older and all people of any age with underlying health conditions should remain at home whenever possible; people in these categories should only leave their residences to seek medical care, exercise, or obtain food or other necessities.
West Hollywood City Hall is currently closed to the public and has suspended all in-person transactions. Most public City buildings, playgrounds, and facilities remain closed. City Hall remains accessible for business and essential services with transactions to be conducted by phone (323) 848-6400 and via the City’s website at www.weho.org.