San Diego County Shuts Down Bars, Breweries Again

Bars were first shut down in mid-March

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San Diego County ordered all bars, wineries and breweries that do not serve food to close by Wednesday, officials announced Monday.

“We will be closing all bars, wineries and breweries in San Diego County that do not have a license to serve food,” Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said.

On Tuesday, Public Health Officer Wilma Wooten clarified that bars and breweries that partner with a restaurant, food truck or other entity that has a license to serve food would be allowed to operate. Also, wineries that have tastings completely outdoors can operate without needing a license for food.

The order goes into effect at midnight on July 1, Fletcher said. All additional reopenings will be paused until at least August 1, when county officials will reevaluate guidance for San Diego.

“It’s a simple reality that alcohol consumption impairs judgment and may lead to less compliance with physical distancing guidelines," Fletcher said.

Other reasons to shut down bars, according to Fletcher, include:

  • People often spend more time in a bars than other establishments
  • Loud bars and loud settings require loud conversations and yelling, which spreads droplets more efficiently
  • People who do not know each other often congregate in bars, making it difficult to engage in thorough contact tracing

Bars were first shut down in San Diego County on March 16. Then, nearly three months later, on June 12, county officials loosened restrictions, allowing eligible bars to begin to reopen.

On Sunday, Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered all bars and nightlife to close in Fresno, Imperial, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, San Joaquin and Tulare Counties amid rising COVID-19 cases.

He also noted that the state was closely monitoring Contra Costa, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Stanislaus and Ventura Counties. One day later, Newsom added Solano, Merced, Orange and Glenn Counties to California’s targeted monitoring list.

“The state of California took a similar action for a number of counties, including pretty much all of the neighboring counties to us, and the reason that the state of California took this step for counties, not San Diego but for other counties, because bars are purely social settings, where different people and groups often mix,” Fletcher said Monday.

San Diego was not included in the governor’s mandates or recommendations to close bars and nightlife toward the end of June.

“While San Diego County was not included in the actions taken by the state, we believe it is appropriate and we believe it is wise for us to take this action now, given the increases we’ve seen in cases and percentage of positive cases and outbreaks and the increases in hospitalizations,” Fletcher said.

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