California Slowly Starting to Shut Down Again


Cheryl Hanks

T.J. Maxx on Mac Bean Parkway only allows 62 customers in at a time to their 22,000-square-foot building due to new COVID guidelines in CA. The end result is a line of customers outside of the building trying to get in and do some holiday shopping.

On Nov. 22, 2020, health officials announced that Los Angeles County is shutting down all breweries, bars, wineries, and all dining at restaurants for at least three weeks starting Nov. 25, 2020, due to a rise in coronavirus cases. Officials have forewarned of more restriction earlier that week if the county’s average within five days was higher than 4,000 cases. On Nov. 22, the five-day average was 4,097 cases.

Health officials announced that a “Safer at Home Order” will be issued for the next three weeks if the five-day average of cases rises above 4,500 or if hospitalizations are more than 2,000 a day. The “Safer at Home Order” would be just like the order at the beginning of the pandemic where only essential and emergency workers and those securing essential services are allowed to leave their homes.

Restaurants being able to do outdoor dining has helped them stay in business during the pandemic. Cities have tried helping restaurants by shutting down traffic, so businesses would be able to set up tables outside.

“It’s really just devastating. Our industry has been so deeply affected by the pandemic,” said Karen Ross, owner of the Tallyrand restaurant in Burbank. “Our crew as well as hundreds of thousands of people who are in the restaurant industry are just reeling from the news that we’re going to shut down again.”

Restaurant owners who have been struggling to keep business open say that the latest restrictions were just another blow after investing a lot of money in outdoor dining.

A curfew for businesses in the county has been in effect since the night of Fri. 27, 2020. Restaurants, breweries, and other non-essential establishments have been ordered to close between the time of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Most of California, including Los Angeles County, has been under a curfew since Sat. 28, 2020. Pasadena and Long Beach have their own health departments and are considering what actions will be taken regarding restaurants and more. However, officials say they normally fall in line with the county’s rules and restrictions.

In California, the speed of the new surge has taken almost everyone by surprise. Although the state does not have the worst numbers in the entire nation, it has endured two previous cycles of spikes and recovery only to fall into a third; some could say California has been getting a lot of whiplash.

The number of daily cases doubled in just the past two weeks. There are signs that more people are being hospitalized during this surge than previous surges. The state had never reported more than 13,000 daily cases until last week when the normal amount of cases tripled.

Governor Gavin Newsom (D) has put 41 of the state’s 58 counties, summing up 94 percent of the state’s population, back into the most restrictive regulatory tier, an imposed overnight curfew, and required masks outside of home.

“It’s the uncertainty that we have now,” said Janise Dawson, manager of the Napa Valley Hotel and Suites downtown here. “Groups are calling and canceling because they have no idea what to expect.”

Earlier this month, in the days before the new restrictions were enforced, Dawson said that the hotel was 75 percent full. Now, she said, not even a quarter of the rooms have guests.

“This is by far the worst situation we’ve ever seen,” said Dawson, who has been in the hotel business for three decades. “My positive side believes they are just shutting us down for the holidays to be careful, they will slowly open us back up. Hopefully, we can start the new year strong.”

With cases rising in California actions are being taken to stop the spread. Although restrictions are being placed to keep everyone safe, it has its benefits and disadvantages.