The state says identifying COVID-19 cases back to bars is challenging. The governor's order calls on Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties to take the same action, but leaves the final decision in the hands of the county health officers.
Sacramento health officials, who have expressed concerns about lack of social distancing in bars, said Sunday they will consider the governor's request and decide likely Monday.
He stressed that the state is in charge right at the moment; the state, he said, has on occasion done enforcement and could utilize its pull through the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
There are 19 counties now on the state's watch list. Those on the state's watch list for more than 14 days are required to immediately close any bar that has reopened for business.
"We are considering a number of other things to advance", Newsom said, "and we will be making those public as conditions change".
Public health officials in California and throughout the United States have identified bars as the riskiest non-essential business now open.
The increase is not simply the result of expanded testing capacity, officials have said.
On Friday, Newsom said the numbers in Imperial County have been particularly alarming and have overwhelmed the region's hospitals.
Of the 15 counties noted on Sunday by Newsom for bar closures or potential closures, four have not yet allowed bars to reopen: Contra Costa, Imperial, San Joaquin and Santa Clara.
The growing rate of positive infections and a spike in hospitalizations are proof the virus is spreading within communities.
When it comes to the economic toll of the virus, California has already shed twice as many jobs during the first two months of the COVID-19 crisis - about 2.6 million - as it did during 31 months of the Great Recession a decade ago, according to an analysis released last week by the California Budget & Policy Center.
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