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Restaurant Dining Rooms Shut Down as COVID-19 Spikes

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There is widespread concern among lawmakers in the state that the pandemic could worsen as people celebrate the July Fourth Holiday over the weekend - much like it did when people crowded beaches and outdoor spots during the Memorial Day weekend.

Newsom further said that people must not become complacent when they go to family gatherings, and to keep wearing masks at all times. Newsom says the new criteria could apply to 53 of the state's 58 counties.

Newsom told reporters at a news conference Wednesday that the changes were being implemented because of a surge in the number of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in 19 counties and the need to focus on locations with the greatest risks of spread.

Nearly simultaneous with Newsom's announcement, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order requiring bars in the lower portion of her state to halt their on-premise operations.

The new restrictions, Newsom said, will be enforced by a "multi-agency strike team" made up of the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, the Department of Business Oversight, the Department of Consumer Affairs and the California Highway Patrol.

Ranging from Los Angeles and Riverside to Sacramento and Fresno, the counties account for a third of the state's total.

The new restrictions come as California has reported jumps in both cases and hospitalizations over the past few weeks, including more than 6,000 newly confirmed cases on Monday and another 5,898 on Tuesday.

For the two weeks ended Monday, California's confirmed coronavirus cases increased 45 per cent to almost a quarter-million and hospitalisations increased 52 per cent to 5,077.

The announcements follow several days of warnings about more aggressive state action to curb record numbers of COVID-19 infections in the past week, which have pushed the state past 6,000 deaths and more than 23,000 cases.

Gov. Newsom also recommends that firework shows in communities on the state's watch list should be canceled.

Newsom's new order lasts for three weeks. Hospitalization rates are growing quickly in southern counties, including Imperial, San Bernardino and Los Angeles, the latter of which now accounts for almost half of all cases statewide.

While neither Santa Cruz nor Monterey counties are affected by the closure order, Newsom also announced that the state is closing parking facilities at state beaches in Southern California and the Bay Area.

While testing has increased in the state, the number of new cases has outpaced the rise in tests. "Then all of a sudden, you see a spread", he said.

On Friday, Newsom had Imperial County roll back its lifting of the stay-at-home order.

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