SAN DIEGO — San Diego County officials said Tuesday that bars and restaurants that serve food and alcohol can continue operating in July, but they must close by 10 p.m.
The new restriction follows the announcement Monday that bars, wineries and breweries that do not serve food must close completely on July 1. The restrictions are necessary because officials believe that the later people drink and the more alcohol they consume, the less likely they are to practice social distancing and protect themselves from becoming infected by the coronavirus, Superviser Greg Cox said.
“We cannot go on with business as normal while the virus is ravaging the nation,” Cox said.
The single largest contributor to community outbreaks of COVID-19 are bars, which account for more than 25% of the outbreaks, Supervisor Nathan Fletcher added. He said house parties and gatherings at private residences are responsible for the second highest number of community outbreaks. People should not have gatherings in homes with people who do not live in the household, Fletcher said.
County officials also reported 317 new COVID-19 cases and four additional deaths, raising the county totals to 14,149 cases and 365 deaths.
Causing additional concern, the number of people hospitalized because of the coronavirus hit a a new high in the county, Fletcher said. As of Monday, 493 people were being treated in hospitals around the county and 182 of those patients were in intensive care units, he said.