California’s governor on Sunday ordered the closing of bars in seven counties, including Los Angeles County, because of an upsurge in coronavirus cases.
State officials also have urged eight other counties, including San Bernardino County, to close their bars, reported the Los Angeles Times and other news outlets in the region.
The order came two days after the governor of Texas ordered the closing of bars and scaled back occupancy at restaurants to 50% there because of a surge in COVID-19 cases there.
That means no bars will be operating along Route 66 from the Arizona state line to the Santa Monica Pier.
More from the Times:
Businesses impacted by the close-down action include any bar, brewery or pub that sells alcoholic drinks without also selling food at the same time. Those that do sell food will be subject either to the stricter dine-in rules or asked to focus on takeout service.
Bars, state health officials said, often operate with larger crowds who remove masks more frequently to drink and where loud music may force customers to raise their voices — potentially spreading more airborne particles. Contact tracing, needed to determine who an infected person has been around, is harder when it comes to these establishments given the constant mixing of customers.
Earlier this month, four health experts rated going to bars a 9 out of 10 in terms of risk for contracting coronavirus — the highest of the bunch. Also rating a 9 were large music concerts, sports stadiums and gymnasiums.
San Bernardino County reported hospitals are filling up and are looking for alternative sites for COVID-19 patients.
California had more than 211,000 cases of the disease and more than 5,900 deaths through Saturday.
Arizona has the worst increases of COVID-19 in the country, and no new restrictions had been issued as of Sunday night.
In the U.S., more than 2.5 million confirmed cases of coronavirus have been reported, with more than 125,000 deaths as of Sunday night.
(Image of The Troubadour nightclub in West Hollywood, California, by rocor via Flickr)