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Newsom Considering Further Restrictions To Stem Coronavirus Spread

California Gov. Gavin Newson speaks during a livestreamed press conference on June 29, 2020.
Liam Moriarty
California Gov. Gavin Newson speaks during a livestreamed press conference on June 29, 2020.

A day after he ordered bars closed in seven counties, Gov. Gavin Newsom says he is weighing other measures to reverse the state's rapid increase in cases of COVID-19.

“We are considering a number of other things,” Newsom said during a COVID-19 briefing Monday. He did not elaborate, though, adding only that new restrictions would be made public “at the appropriate time” and “as conditions change.”

The governor said the state will step up enforcement of other efforts, like a requirement that people wear face masks in public.

“It is incumbent upon all of us in the state of California to take seriously these rules and these regulations, and to enforce them,” he said. “We want to work with people and be responsive and responsible to help support their needs, particularly small businesses.”

Earlier this year, the state threatened business licenses of bars and hair salons that defied restrictions to reopen earlier than allowed.

There’s also a financial incentive for counties to enforce the restrictions, which some county sheriffs have begun to refuse. The new state budget — which Newsom plans to sign — includes a section requiring counties to adhere to state and federal health guidelines in order to receive certain realignment funding, which the state administers to counties in order to pay for health and other services.

Meanwhile, cases in California continue to climb. The state’s rate of positive tests is at a 14-day average of 5.5%, up a full percentage point from June 15.

San Quentin OutbreakNewsom also addressed an alarming outbreak at the San Quentin prison, where at least 1,021 inmates in custody have now tested positive for the coronavirus, plus five who have been released.

The outbreak has reportedly been tied to an inmate transfer from a Chino facility in late May.

The governor said some sickened inmates are being screened for possible early release, but many do not have a safe place to go.

“That is our deep focus and area of concern right now,” Newsom said. “We are working ... through the medical screening to move people as quickly as we can, but as safely — and more importantly — responsibly as we can.”

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