Riverside County is closing its bars starting Tuesday, June 30, in response to a recent spike in coronavirus cases.
The county’s public health officer, Dr. Cameron Kaiser, handed down the order Monday in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.
“People don’t social distance well after a couple drinks, and it’s one of the hardest environments to trace contacts in,” Kaiser said. “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.”
The order comes one day after Gov. Gavin Newsom urged Riverside and seven other counties to close bars.
Riverside reopened its bars June 12. The county is under accelerated stage two of its coronavirus recovery plan, allowing restaurants, barber shops, gyms and other establishments to operate.
As the hospitalization rate, number of confirmed cases and ICU beds in use continue to rise, the concerns of local and state health officials are growing.
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“A local Riverside County order on bar closures has unfortunately become necessary to slow the spread of this virus,” said Riverside County Board Chair and Fourth District Supervisor V. Manuel Perez. “I want to remind everyone that facial coverings are a requirement, and encourage continuously keeping physical distance and washing our hands.”
The county says restaurants, pubs and breweries with dine-in services can sell alcoholic drinks, but only with a meal. Bars that offer meals in the county are required to follow the same guidance as restaurants.
The closure of bars will be enforced by Riverside officials with the Department of Environmental Health. Impacted bars, pubs, breweries and restaurants will be contacted and informed of how the order impacts their business. Officials are confident that most bars will comply, but the county says those who don’t may face added consequences.