By Ann Peterson
(July 13) Gov. Gavin Newsom rolled back several of the state’s reopened businesses and activities. In Contra Costa County, that means once again closing hair salons, indoor worship services, malls and non-essential offices.
Across the state, the governor also immediately closed indoor dining, bars, movie theaters, zoos and museums – none of which had yet to open in Contra Costa County.
Contra Costa is one of 30 counties on the governor’s “watch list” because of rising coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.
Newsom continued to use his analogy of a dimmer switch, rather than an on-off switch, regarding the stay-at-home orders that have kept parts of the state locked down since March. As of July 13, the state has averaged more than 8,200 COVID-19 cases a day and hospitalizations have risen about 28% in the past two weeks.
With the county’s rate of positive coronavirus tests exceeding 8%, Contra Costa temporarily banned indoor worship services on July 12 and tightened face covering rules. A new public health order requires outdoor diners to wear face masks at all times, “except when putting food and drink in the mouth.” It also instructs wearing face coverings when visiting in social bubbles of 12 or less extended family or friends.
People who have a medical exemption from wearing snug face masks must instead wear a plastic face shield with a cloth drape beneath to contain coughs and sneezes.
And the order requires open businesses to ensure their workers and volunteers wear face coverings and to not serve or even allow entry to anyone who is not wearing a face covering. This also applies to people waiting in line to enter a business.
Face coverings are not required while exercising, including walking, but the county recommends carrying a mask that can be put on when coming within 6 feet of someone else.
Outdoor religious and cultural services are permitted for any size gathering so long as 6 feet of social distance is maintained.
As of July 12, Contra Costa had 4,661positive cases, representing a positivity rate of 8.04% over a 7-day period, which triggered the review and reconsideration of reopenings.