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Closures return as COVID-19 cases continue to climb
Students will not be returning to classrooms in August
barber club
Just weeks after reopening, barber shops and hair salons are once again mandated to shut down (Journal file photo).

Gov. Gavin Newsom and the California Department of Public Health expanded a statewide order Monday to close most indoor businesses in an effort to try and stop the spread of COVID-19.

The order comes as COVID-19 cases are skyrocketing across the state and in Stanislaus County.

Counties that have been in the state’s monitoring list for more than three days were ordered to close churches, gyms, salons, spas, barbershops, tattoo parlors, indoor malls and non-essential offices. Additionally, the order prohibits indoor protests.

The CDPH and Newsom also ordered a statewide expansion of the closure for businesses that encourage mixing of individuals beyond immediate households and make physical distancing and wearing face coverings difficult. Affected businesses include restaurants, wineries and tasting rooms, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, zoos and museums and cardrooms. These sectors may modify operations to provide services outside or by pick-up. 

The state is similarly expanding statewide its order for brewpubs, breweries, bars, and pubs to close, both indoors and outdoors, unless they are offering sit down meals outdoors.

Monday’s order is effective immediately and the closures will remain in effect until the State Public Health Officer determines it is appropriate to modify the order based on public health conditions.

“Due to increased COVID-19 transmissions statewide and rising hospitalization numbers in many communities, we are taking more actions today to slow transmissions of the disease," said Governor Newsom. "Each of us has the power to slow the spread of the virus. Here’s how you can help: Avoid mixing with people who are not in your household. If you can’t avoid it, wear a mask, move indoor activities outside, stay physically distant and wash your hands.”

Community spread of COVID-19 continues to be a concern for counties on the County Monitoring List. Further, rates in counties not on the list have also been increasing at an alarming rate, supporting this expanded state action. As community spread increases, vulnerable populations, including older Californians and those who have chronic conditions or compromised immune systems, are at higher risk of becoming seriously ill due to the virus. Higher cases counts can also threaten the state’s care delivery system capacity.

“Moving outside when you’re at a restaurant, winery or gym is a key step to helping reduce the risk for yourself and others, but that doesn’t mean your actions don’t matter. Letting your guard down around people who don’t live with you, even a family member or close friend, puts you at risk,” said Dr. Sonia Angell, State Health Officer and Director of the California Department of Public Health. “When you go out, wear a face covering, keep physical distance, and wash your hands. The decisions we make today will determine how COVID-19 impacts our communities and families tomorrow.”

Also on Monday, the Stanislaus County Office of Education announced that schools will be entirely distance learning for a while when instruction starts up again in August. 

There also will be no extracurricular activities in the fall, including sports, band and theater.

“Widespread community transmission has forced us to make the difficult decision to delay the return of our children to school classrooms,” SCOE wrote in a news release. “This announcement represents a significant disappointment for the many thousands of teachers, administrators and support staff, who were looking forward to welcoming students back in August.”

As of Monday, Stanislaus County has had 5,178 COVID-19 cases and 51 deaths.