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Last call Monday for Riverside County bars ordered to shut down again

Riverside County ordered the shut down of bars effective Tuesday – as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations surge.

It's the first rolling back of the reopening yet. The governor and county officials said when it comes to slowing the spread, bars aren't the right environment.

Bars that also serve dine-in food can remain open as long as they follow the guidelines for restaurants.

Businesses in violation can face fines of up to $1,000 per day.

"People drink, they touch each other, they touch their faces," said Colette Stanley, who was out Monday night at TJ's Steaks Pasta and Spirits in Palm Desert. "You let your guard down and forget your worries for a few minutes."

When bars reopened more than two weeks ago, Stanley was grateful for the break from staying at home.

"I haven't worked since March 15! What else is there to do?" she said.

But Stanley admits social distancing and wearing a mask aren't always east at a bar.

"People don’t want to wear the mask," said Curtis Fowler, assistant manager at El Patron in Palm Springs. "You have to kind of chase them down and get them to do it."

Neil's Lounge in Indio has been a well attended spot during the brief reopening period. One night before the countywide shutdown, it was already closed.

Some bar employees said they're concerned about the lasting impacts of another shutdown.

"I don't want anyone to be put out of their jobs or their businesses – that's scary for everyone," said Myra French, a bartender a TJ's. "We definitely closed down for a while so I know how that felt."

People are hoping to get back on track soon.

"I hope everybody does it for a couple more months or however long it takes so we can have our lives back," Stanley said.

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Jake Ingrassia

Joining News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 as a reporter, Jake is excited to be launching his broadcasting career here in the desert. Learn more about Jake here.


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