After states pushed through reopening efforts and coronavirus cases have started spiking nationwide, some states are taking action to prevent a spike in cases Fourth of July weekend. At least 16 states are now announcing pausing reopening plans, or ordering closures once more. As of publishing, the states include Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, North Carolina, Maine, New Jersey, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Texas, and Washington.
The Fourth of July weekend is a particular concern for health experts.
“It’s set up a perfect storm: the combination of travel, the combination of reopening —perhaps in some cases, too early — and the combination of people not necessarily following some of these preventive guidelines,” Dr. Joshua Barocas, an infectious disease physician at Boston Medical Center, said during a Wednesday briefing.
Barocas encourages people to stick to outdoor activities that don’t require large groups and maintain social distancing in large groups of friends and family. He also stressed the importance of not sharing items.
“I would urge people to not share food or drinks with others outside of your household, this is something we oftentimes forget. Bring your own sunscreen. Bring your own bug spray,” Barocas said.
Arizona Orders Massive Closures
Arizona is once again closing bars, gyms, movie theaters and other businesses for 30 days in response to a spike in cases. Water parks and tubing are also facing mandatory closures. Events with more than 50 people are prohibited.
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey said that officials expect numbers to worsen next week. The closings are an effort to have cases level out in several weeks.
California Re-Closing Bars
California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that seven counties were to close bars, just two weeks after reopening them. These counties include Fresno, Imperial, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, San Joaquin, and Tulare. He also recommended that bars in Contra Costa, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Stanislaus, and Ventura close.
He also recommended that fireworks shows be cancelled to prevent mass gatherings.
The news comes after a spike in cases across the state as businesses, from bars to salons, officially reopened. The state saw its highest single-day jump in cases last week, with more than 7,000 new infections, Newsweek reports.
Florida Beaches & Parks Face Closures
Florida beaches from Palm Beach to Key West will be closed for the upcoming weekend. On Sunday, Newsweek reports that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis noted “widespread noncompliance” among reopened businesses. This weekend, several restaurants were also closed after violating guidelines.
CNN reports that Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Giménez said all beaches and parks in the county will close this Friday through Tuesday, July 7. The closures could potentially extend if conditions don’t improve and guidelines aren’t followed over the weekend.
However, not all counties are closing their beaches. Jacksonville has announced that they are keeping beaches open.
Texas Limits Businesses and Services
Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced the mandatory closure of certain businesses after the state’s spike in cases. The memo ordered closures to the following businesses:
- All bars and similar establishments that receive more than 51% of their gross receipts from the sale of alcoholic beverages,. These businesses may remain open for delivery and take-out, including for alcoholic beverages, as authorized by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
- Restaurants may remain open for dine-in service, but at capacity not to exceed 50% of total listed indoor occupancy.
- Rafting and tubing businesses must close.
- Outdoor gatherings of 100 or more people must be approved by local governments, with certain exceptions.
New Jersey Pauses Indoor Dining’s Return
New Jersey had previously planned to resume indoor dining this Thursday. After a spike in cases in other reopened states, the plans are now halted.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy also cited non-compliance and lack of social distancing as points of concern in the state’s reopening progress. He stated that a new date for indoor dining’s return will be announced at a later date.
“Compliance is not a polite suggestion, it is required,” Murphy said.