Restaurants, Bars Closed As San Diego County Coronavirus Cases Rise To 55
Speaker 1: 00:00 New public health orders to slow the spread of the Corona virus through the San Diego region are now in effect. Yesterday the city and County ordered the closure of bars and prohibited dining and restaurants. Gatherings are also restricted. County supervisor Nathan Fletcher says San Diego will be much more strict about gatherings than the state standard of discouraging groups of 250 people or more. Speaker 2: 00:23 All public or private gatherings of 50 or more people are now prohibited. All non-essential gatherings of any size are strongly discouraged. So although we are moving the order from two 50 to 50 we are strongly discouraged. Speaker 3: 00:39 Any gatherings, Speaker 1: 00:41 the new restrictions come as the county's Corona virus cases climb to 55 joining us now is KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman. Matt, welcome. Hey Jay, these County guidelines go one step further than state guidelines released over the weekend. Walk us through some of the major changes here. Speaker 3: 00:58 Right, so I guess the first major change we're talking about is they issued a public health order that all gatherings of 50 or more people is prohibited in throughout the entire County. Coming off of that too. They're also recommending the gatherings of any size, like so I know what the president's had 10 people, we're talking five people, six people, they should all be banned. That's a just an ask though. That's not a mandate. So 50 or more. Um, and then all bars, uh, wineries, breweries that just serve alcohol must close. That was another mandate from them. And then in terms of restaurants and bars that serve food, they're still allowed to serve food but no longer do dine in service. So they're taken away that dine and service, uh, to help stop the spread of the Corona virus. And they're still allowing restaurants and bars that serve food to do delivery or drive through are some sort of pickup service. And then I guess another one that the governor obviously set over the weekend, but um, they also reinforcing that everyone's 65 and older and the counties should stay at home and not contract. Try to go out there and possibly contract this virus. Speaker 1: 01:54 Now, you know, how are our small businesses and even the restaurant industry reacting to these new rules? Speaker 3: 01:59 I think a lot of them are kind of shocked, but I think a lot of them understand that this is a public health need and they're willing to comply. Um, but yeah, talking about response to the California restaurant association, they kind of put out a letter to their members saying that they, their CEO says they, he has never seen anything like what we are seeing now in terms of economic impact. Um, remember a lot of these restaurants, you know, their margins are pretty thin they say and um, we've talked to a couple that say, yeah, you know, we could probably like, you know, close for two to three weeks and be okay or maybe the end of March. But after that it gets into really Rocky territory and Speaker 1: 02:28 wow. Has the County given indie any indication of how long these businesses will need to be shut down for? Speaker 3: 02:34 Well, we know that this order is through at least the end of March and they're going to be looking to review that I guess on a month to month basis here. So I'm at the end of March, we might have more news, like maybe if we see that you know, curve, they talk about going down. Um, we might see an increase in cases now, but that should go down if these social distancing strategies are working. Um, so the review that at the end of March and who knows, maybe they'll reopen them up fully, but we really don't know at this point. It's sort of unclear Speaker 1: 02:57 what was the explanation the County gave for taking these additional measures. And don't they go against some of the guidelines the CDC released yesterday recommending no gatherings with 10 or more people? Speaker 3: 03:07 Well, what we have to remember too is that I think County health officials I've talked about walking this balance of not causing a huge panic and being responsible. Are these orders enforceable? They are enforceable. They are legally enforceable orders. I know that yesterday, at least in the city of San Diego, SDPD was going around to bars and restaurants, letting them know what's up, saying, Hey, you guys gotta close at midnight or stop your dining services by midnight shut or shut your doors completely. If they're a bar that doesn't serve food. And I believe for the County, I guess it would be the Sheriff's department cause they are the legal arm of the County. So it is a legally enforceable order. Although County officials are saying that they hope that everybody just kind of, uh, you know, respects this order. We do know that SDPD um, after going around today, they're going to be taking calls on a complaint basis and going out there. So if you see a restaurant and you call SDPD, they'll go out and check it out and maybe, you know, forced that person that close. Speaker 1: 03:54 You know, the County made another announcement yesterday. It's making motel rooms available. Uh, who would those motel rooms apply to? Speaker 3: 04:02 Right. So they have 227 motel rooms that they have acquired. Now these are for people who PUIs persons that are investigation people who might have the virus, but it's also for like the homeless population and seniors, some of the more vulnerable populations. We know that some people are staying in those hotel rooms. They do want to eventually get up to 2000 a hotel, motel rooms throughout the County. Speaker 1: 04:24 Hmm. There are now 55 confirmed cases of Corona virus in San Diego County. Did the County give any updates as far as testing goes and are they increasing the capacity to test more individually? Speaker 3: 04:34 Right. We did find out from the County that the County lab has a capacity for about 120 tests per day. So that's not a whole lot of testing. Uh, we know that, um, there was a hospital there, they say that they can do about 80 tests a day. Obviously private institutions now have capacity to test. Um, what they reiterated was only those who need medical care will be the people who get tested. So, um, I think when just for when, when people see these, you know, 55 cases, 39 cases, um, you have to take that with a grain of salt because basically the County is only testing people who need medical care. So what they're saying is like if you were me, Jade had symptoms like my moderate to low symptoms, they would just say stay in your home quarantine for two weeks or so or until these conditions pass. So we would never get tested. We would never fall under the official count. So it's safe to say that even though there's 55 confirmed cases, there's more cases out there that we don't know about. Speaker 1: 05:23 You know, the County will be giving daily briefings at 2:00 PM. Any sense of what we can expect later today Speaker 3: 05:28 at that news conference yesterday they talked a lot about more of these restrictions that might be coming in. In the coming days. Dr Wilma Wooten said in that news conference that we could be seeing sooner rather than later, an entire country wide shutdown. We might see the governor of California say statewide shutdown or the County talked about using all the tools in their public health toolbox, which includes potentially like you see up in San Francisco, countywide shelter in place. So they're really looking at all their options and like I said, they're really trying to balance that. You know, not causing panic and kind of ramping up these restrictions. So we might see more restrictions coming out today even Speaker 1: 06:01 I've been speaking with KPBS reporter, Matt Hoffman. Matt, thank you very much. Thanks, Jade.