Escondido, CA
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Partly cloudy

County limits restaurants, shuts down bars again

Effective 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, July 7 Restaurants were required to close all indoor dining.  Additionally: Wineries, movie theaters, zoos, museums, and cardrooms must close indoor operations.  Bars (that don’t sell food) must close ALL operations.

This order will be in effect for the next three weeks.

The County Monday afternoon announced the reversal in what had been a gradual reopening since June.  

The County has been waiting for the other shoe to drop since last week when San Diego County was placed on a state watch list of counties. In the words of Board of Supervisors Chairman Greg Cox speaking at Monday’s media update, “because of a series of metrics that have been reached that show the spread of coronavirus is still growing. Over the weekend our numbers continued to grow in the wrong direction with 489 cases on Friday, 468 cases on Saturday and unfortunately 562 cases reported yesterday.”

Currently the state of California has the most restrictions in place of all 50 states.

Note: Cases in Escondido reached 688 on Tuesday, according to the county website.

Cox continued, “As a result, at midnight tonight our public health order will be updated under the state’s directive and we will close all indoor activities at the following businesses in establishments: restaurants, bars, cardrooms, wineries and tasting rooms, theaters, zoos, museums and family entertainment centers indoor activities.”

He added that “The intent here is to slow the spread and reduce the number of cases over the next three weeks to get a better handle on this virus.”

Fourth District Supervisor Nathan Fletcher and County Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten, added details to the announcement.

Fletcher said that as the County approached 17,000 total cases, “and in the last ten days—perhaps in the last two weeks in particular—we’ve seen a concerning rate of spread a rate of spread that is not only impacted our County triggers that we monitor on a regular basis but also the state triggers that we monitor and track in real time.”

He said this had forced the County to follow state directives and dial back the reopening. “Throughout the beginning of this we’ve said that as we move through this process we will have to constantly monitor it and will have to constantly adjust what we’re doing.”

Fletcher repeated one of his favorite pandemic catch phrases: “If we go back and we remember the overall strategy and we are reminded of the phrase ‘Hope is not a strategy.’ We can’t simply hope for the best. We have to put in place a series of measures that allow us to guide our way through and slow the spread in a responsible way to help us manage and mitigate through this preserving as much of our economy in large sections of what we hold dear as possible.”

Fletcher praised San Diego residents who during together in March and April, “to flatten the curve. We did that incredibly successfully as a region. That bought us time to build up our health care system capacity; to build up our testing capacity.”

In May when some parks and beaches were reopened, “we talked about the importance of physical distancing, hand washing and, of course the vital, testing, tracing and treatment or isolation strategy that gave way to June where we move forward into the reopening of our economy.”

A large part of that strategy, said Fletcher, “was the introduction of the metrics both that we monitor here in San Diego County along with what the state of California monitors.”

This gave “early warning signs that things were not headed in a good direction and give us the ability to make adjustments in terms of turning the dial to try and get them under control.”

The supervisor stressed that hospitalizations and deaths in ICUs (intensive care units) are “lagging indicators” of positive cases. “So it’s important that oftentimes we take action when it may not appear from a hospitalization or death standpoint that we need to.”

He compared it to hiking and “we often say when it comes to hydrating if you wait until you’re thirsty it’s too late and the reality is if you wait until your hospitals are overwhelmed it is too late and that’s why these metrics are put in place to give us a guide as we work our way through this.” 

Fletcher called on residents to “think about a coronavirus pandemic as a daily fight that we are all in together. We are in a fight to slow the spread of coronavirus. We win that fight by physical distancing, by utilizing face covers, by hand washing and we win that fight by adhering to the public health orders all of us coming together collectively to keep our numbers in check.”

He pointed out that San Diego County not a special case. “We’re certainly not the only place. The majority of the state of California is in the situation and countless other states throughout the United States are in a similar situation, where they are dialing back or changing particularly higher risk endeavors.”

Fletcher added, “We certainly don’t want any business to be negatively impacted and this is something that we all hope to avoid in terms of having the dial back but if we can make some modest adjustments now to get these numbers under control, then the hope is that we can resume and begin to move forward together.”

He concluded, “We came together tremendously to flatten the curve. Now we have to come together to slow the spread and we have a period of time throughout July to go out and get these numbers under control and put ourselves in the best possible position.”

San Diego County is one of 23 counties in the Golden state —out of 58 total—required to take corrective action.

Under the new regulations, dine-in sections of restaurants, bars, breweries and pubs that serve food will be closed and limited to outdoor dining only. In addition outdoor dining they can do pickup and delivery curbside and take out but any area of a dining establishment that sells food must be closed by 10 p.m.

Those that don’t have onsite consumption are free to continue on a 24 hour cycle. Bars, breweries, brew pubs and pubs that do not serve food must close all operations even if those operations are outdoors now. Brewery pubs that do not serve food are allowed to do curbside sales to allow for pickup.

Wineries and distilleries have been separated from bars breweries and brew pubs wineries and distilleries must close indoor operations that are allowed to have outdoor operations with all appropriate modifications.

Fletcher said, “We certainly understand the impact this will have on restaurants and businesses many of whom just reopened a short time ago. These are not decisions that anyone takes lightly and they’re not decisions that are not taken understanding the very difficult strain and stress they are under, but they are put in place and designed in order to slow the spread how to allow us to continue to move forward and allow us to try to get this under control so that we can get large sections of our economy back up and running successfully.”

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