California Shuts Down Again As U.S. Coronavirus Crisis Expands

SACRAMENTO (Reuters) – California’s governor on Monday clamped new restrictions on businesses, and the state’s two largest school districts, Los Angeles and San Diego, said children would not return to class for the new term as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations soared.

Governor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, ordered bars closed and restaurants, movie theaters, zoos and museums statewide to cease indoor operations. Newsom said churches, gyms and hair salons must close in the 30 hardest-hit counties.

“It’s incumbent upon all of us to recognize soberly that COVID-19 is not going away anytime soon, until there is a vaccine and/or an effective therapy,” Newsom said at a daily news briefing.

The governor called the move critical to stemming a new surge in COVID-19 cases that have strained hospitals in several of California’s rural counties.

The public school districts for Los Angeles and San Diego, two of the country’s largest with a combined 706,000 students and 88,000 employees, said in a joint statement they would hold online-only classes, citing “vague and contradictory” science and public health guidelines.

The districts said countries that have safely reopened their schools have done so only after establishing declining infection rates and on-demand coronavirus testing.

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