San Diego County to close bars that don't serve food ahead of July 4 to slow COVID-19 spread

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Posted at 2:43 PM, Jun 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-30 11:59:13-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — The San Diego Board of Supervisors announced Monday that the county will close bars without a license to sell food ahead of the July 4 weekend in an effort to slow rising coronavirus cases.

San Diego Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said the county will close all bars, wineries, and breweries that do not have a license to serve food. California took a similar stance with several counties over the weekend.

"Bars are purely social settings where different people and groups often mix. It's a simple reality that alcohol consumption impairs judgment and may lead to less compliance with physical distancing guidelines," Fletcher said. "People often spend more time in a bar than other establishments like a restaurant for eating."

RELATED: Gov. Newsom shuts down bars in Los Angeles, six other counties amid surge in COVID-19 cases

According to the county, there have been seven community outbreaks in the last week. Of those, two outbreaks were traced back to restaurants/bars. During Monday's press conference, the county wasn't able to specify how many of the region's total cases had visited bars.

Fletcher added that the county is reinstating an order that alcohol can only be consumed while customers are simultaneous eating meals and can't be ordered alone. A third measure was added that anyone who does go to a bar, brewery, or winery that serves food can only consume their food and drinks while seated at a table.

The new measures take effect on July 1.

Fletcher said in addition to the actions, they anticipate "instituting additional changes to our public health order, and additional dialing back and guidance that are a part of our efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19."

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The county is also pausing any further business reopenings until after Aug. 1, even if given guidance by the state.

County officials and health officials are scheduled to meet with hospital CEOs Monday to look at what steps they recommend taking. Fletcher added that the county will also be looking at stepping up enforcement and education of the health orders.

"We are strongly encouraging San Diegans to be responsible and avoid gatherings, avoid indoor gatherings," Fletcher said. "The most patriotic thing we can do on the July 4 weekend is adhere to the public health orders and work to save lives."

The announcement comes as San Diego County set a new record for positive coronavirus cases at 498, bringing the region's total to 13,832 total cases. No new deaths were reported on Monday.