Riverside County has issued an order closing all bars without meal service, effective Tuesday, June 30 at 2:01 am.
"People don’t social distance well after a couple drinks, and it’s one of the hardest environments to trace contacts in," said Dr. Cameron Kaiser, Riverside County public health officer. "My hope is that this will be only temporary and further closures won’t be needed, but it all depends on what every one of us as a county do to slow more spread."
Brewpubs, breweries, bars, and pubs, across Riverside County, are ordered to close until further notice unless they offer sit-down, dine-in meals.
The locations that don't typically provide meals are still able to partner with another vendor to do so, as long as both businesses follow the dine-in restaurant guidance and alcohol is only sold in the same transaction as a meal.
Over the weekend, Governor Gavin Newsom mandated bar closures in some California counties and recommended closures of bars in others, including Riverside and San Bernardino.
During a news conference Monday at Noon, Newsom mentioned that if a county on the watch list remained on the list for over 14 days, the state would close the county's bars.
This comes as cases across Riverside County continue to surge, causing ICU capacity to reach 99% over the weekend.
"Since mid-June, there has been a growing health crisis with rising coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and ICU bed usage throughout our nation, the State of California and here in Riverside County. A local Riverside County order on bar closures has unfortunately become necessary to slow the spread of this virus," writes District 4 Supervisor Manuel Perez.
Over the weekend, various bars in Palm Springs voluntarily closed due to concerns with the recent outbreak.
“You have to care enough about your employees and the community that you function within," said Claudia Murphy, co-owner of Tonga Hut. "You have to care enough about them to do what’s right decision even if its difficult business wise.”
Hunters Nightclub and Street Bar on Arenas Road in downtown Palm Springs closed its doors this weekend as well after several employees tested positive for coronavirus.
Dringk at the River in Rancho Mirage closed its doors last week after the owner and employees reported receiving violent threats. This comes after a photo showing the bar packed with people ignited a social media firestorm.
Shortly after Riverside County issued its order, San Diego County announced a similar order closing all bars without a food license.