Governor orders closures effective immediately

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Whiskey Creek Saloon on Fifth Street in Hollister was ordered to close as a new order was issued by San Benito County Public Health Department. (Juan Reyes)

The path to reopen San Benito County is taking a major U-turn as cases of Covid-19 continue to spike in the area and throughout the state.  

David Westrick, county public information officer, said in a press release that businesses that are not able to continue outdoor operations must close that portion of their business effective immediately in order to further mitigate the spread of the virus. 

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the state will roll back the reopening stage by expanding the closure of indoor operations in counties that have been on the monitoring list for three consecutive days.

California Department of Public Health officials had kept a close eye on San Benito County as cases of Covid-19 continued to rise in the area.

On July 8, County Interim Health Officer Dr. David Ghilarducci announced that the county was placed on the Covid-19 County Data Monitoring Project watch list. 

Those affected by the setback include gyms and fitness centers, shopping malls, places of worship, indoor protests and offices for non-critical infrastructure sectors as identified at covid19.ca.gov.

Other businesses such as personal care services, including hair salons and barbershops, nail salons, massage parlors and tattoo parlors are shutting down.

Newsom also expanded closures for indoor operations at dine-in restaurants, wineries and tasting rooms, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, zoos, museums and cardrooms.

Ghilarducci last week issued an order that all brewpubs, breweries, bars and pubs—both indoor and outdoor—must close immediately for not less than three weeks.

However, these businesses can stay open if they offer certain services such as sit-down outdoor meals. Alcohol can only be sold in the same transaction as a meal and curbside sales is allowed.

According to Westrick, outdoor operations may be conducted under a tent, canopy or other sun shelter but only as long as the sides are not closed and there is sufficient outdoor air movement. These actions remain in effect until further notice. The updated guidance can be found at covid19.ca.gov.