COVID-19 Hotspot States Roll Back Reopening: California, Louisiana

By Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times. He has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education.
July 13, 2020Updated: July 13, 2020

Some states seeing a surge in COVID-19 infections have announced rollbacks of reopening measures in a bid to stem the spread of the disease.

Citing continued COVID-19 spread “at alarming rates,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said on Monday that his state was closing indoor operations for restaurants, wineries, movie theaters and other family entertainment, along with zoos, museums, and card rooms.

“Bars must close ALL operations,” Newsom said in a tweet, noting in a press conference that the rollbacks were effective immediately.

Epoch Times Photo
California Gov. Gavin Newsom talks about new policing and criminal justice reforms at Miss Ollie’s in Oakland, Calif., on June 9, 2020. (Courtesy of Associated Press Pool)

New restrictions announced on Saturday by Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) went into effect Monday. These include a statewide mask-wearing mandate for anyone over the age of eight unless they have a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a mask.

“While I had hoped to avoid going backwards on restrictions, it is obvious that it is necessary to slow the spread of infection in our state, as COVID-19 has spread to every corner, at a level higher than we have previously seen,” Edwards said in a statement.

“This is why I am now mandating face coverings statewide and also closing all bars in Louisiana to on-premises consumption, in addition to putting in limits on the size of indoor gatherings,” Edwards added. The new restrictions cap the number of people legally able to assemble indoors at 50. Outdoor social gatherings are also limited to 50 people if people cannot avoid being within six feet of each other.

Louisiana state officials reported 2,167 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday.

“Cases in Louisiana continue to increase, including setting a record-high number of new cases reported in one day, today and yesterday. More than two thousand new COVID infections reported each of these days and increased hospitalizations are signs that we continue to go in the wrong direction in our work to control COVID-19 in our state,” Edwards said.

La. Gov. John Bel Edwards gives an update on the spread of CCP virus in the state of La., at GOHSEP in Baton Rouge, La, on Thursday, April 9, 2020, (Hilary Scheinuk/The Advocate via AP)
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards gives an update on the spread of CCP virus in the state of La., at GOHSEP in Baton Rouge, La., on April 9, 2020, (Hilary Scheinuk/The Advocate via AP)

California’s COVID-19 death toll exceeded 7,000 on Sunday, according to the state’s Department of Public Health, which noted 8,460 new infections on July 12, bringing the state total to 320,804 positive cases.

“The data suggests not everybody is practicing common sense,” Newsom said at a press conference.

Counties in California that have been on a COVID-19 watchlist for three consecutive days will also be required to close fitness centers, places of worship, offices for noncritical sectors, personal care services, hair salons, barbershops, and malls.

One of the hardest-hit areas in the state is Los Angeles County, which has seen the proportion of tests that come back positive rise to 9 percent, according to health authorities.

“We have been battling this virus for several months and I know that ‘COVID fatigue’ is a very real thing,” said Barbara Ferrer, Director of Public Health for L.A. County.

“I want to encourage everyone to remain vigilant and continue to use all the tools we have to prevent further transmission of the virus,” she said, adding, “Closely following all protocols for physical distancing, wearing cloth face coverings and washing hands frequently are crucial at this moment for preventing more serious illness and death from COVID-19.”