Culture

California's Governor Just Shut Down the Bars Before St. Paddy's Day to Fight COVID-19

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California Governor Gavin Newsom on Sunday shut down all of the state’s bars and nightclubs, ordered people 65 years old and older to stay home, and cut the restaurant business in half – effective now.

Newsom ordered the bars to close – two days before one of the industry’s biggest drinking days, the St. Patrick’s Day holiday. He called the bar business a “non-essential function.” We’re not sure where he got that crazy idea from.

Restaurants were ordered to operate at half-capacity to maximize social distancing between patrons. He encouraged people to order take-out. For those who can’t afford it, he said a food program would be forthcoming.

But Newsom didn’t just temporarily shut down bars. He ordered wineries, wine tasting venues, and breweries closed as well. It’s unclear how much the shut-down would impact the state’s signature wine and beer business, though this woman in her own colorful way predicted her family would be devastated:

These moves were on top of an executive order last week to commandeer hotels and motels to use for quarantining people with COVID-19, the coronavirus. Newsom also reported that the state was in the midst of negotiating for procuring shuttered hospitals for possible use for COVID-19 patients. It’s unclear if the state was confiscating those from private owners or buying them outright for fair market value.

Newsom also revealed he would force homeless people into hotels, motels, and trailers for their own good though he claimed, “I’m not ratcheting up a mindset of enforcement, police state.”

Newsom said 335 people have tested positive for COVID-19. That’s a 14% increase since just yesterday. Six people have died.

Watch Newsom’s news conference update: