by ADAM BEAM Associated PressTuesday, June 30th 2020
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — With coronavirus cases surging, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday that he plans to “tighten things up” when it comes to the state’s stay-at-home order ahead of a busy Fourth of July weekend.
California has confirmed close to 223,000 infections, a nearly 50% increase over two weeks ago that has been driven in part by the state’s ability to now test more than 100,000 people per day. But more concerning to officials is the steady growth in COVID-19 hospitalizations — a 43% increase in the past two weeks.
The state has been under a stay-at-home order since March 19, but Newsom has loosened restrictions in recent weeks to allow most businesses to open. Newsom said he would announce changes to the order Wednesday, hinting he would focus more on indoor restrictions where the virus is more likely to spread.
The state already requires everyone to wear a mask in most public places, both indoors and outdoors, when physical distancing isn’t possible.
“The framework for us is this: If you’re not going to stay home and you’re not going to wear masks in public, we have to enforce —and we will,” Newsom said, adding the state will be “a little bit more aggressive as it relates to guidelines on Fourth of July.”
Newsom’s cryptic warning, where he referred to the stay-at-home order as a “dimmer switch,” has businesses worried they could be forced to close again — especially the retail industry, which depends on in-person shopping.
“I’m hoping it won’t pertain to retail, at least this round,” said Rachel Michelin, president of the California Retailers Association. “Frankly, we were afraid of this, that if we saw an uptick of cases … we could see that dimmer switch coming in.”
“For some of our more independent retailers, if they have to shut down, many of them probably won’t open. They barely made it through what was it, 10 weeks that we were closed? That was hard … I don’t know that they will make it.”