The Tulare County Public Health Officer has signed and released a Public Health Order for the prevention of COVID-19 pursuant to Tulare County Ordinance and the California Health and Safety Code. The newly released Order calls for the immediate closure of bars, pubs, brewpubs, and breweries in an effort to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in Tulare County. The full Order can be found at Tulare County COVID-19 Response website under the Local Emergency Orders for Prevention of COVID-19 Transmission.
“COVID-19 continues to spread, and cases are drastically rising throughout Tulare County,” stated Dr. Karen Haught, Tulare County Public Health Officer. “Most concerning is the significant increase in hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients in our local hospitals, indicating the severity of this virus.”
Bars are defined as establishments primarily serving alcohol without sit-down, dine-in food service. The focus is on establishments providing high-risk environments of virus transmission for the following reasons:
Bars are purely social settings where different people and groups mix
Alcohol consumption impairs judgement and may lead to less compliance with social distancing guidance
People often spend more time in a bar than other establishments, like restaurants, etc.
Loud bars require loud conversation/yelling, which can spread droplets more efficiently
People who may not know each other often congregate in bars, making it more difficult to engage in thorough contact tracing
On Sunday, June 28, the California Department of Public Health and California Governor Gavin Newsom released guidance on the closure of bars for counties on the County Monitoring List. The Department recommends that counties on the County Monitoring List for three or more consecutive days, but less than 14 days, close bars through local health officer order (or do not allow for the opening if bars have not yet been allowed to open in the county).
Counties that have been on the list for 14 days or more (includes Tulare County) are required to close bars.
Counties with Mandatory Bar Closures:
Counties with Recommended Bar Closures:
In additions the following counties do not have bars open currently and are recommended to keep them closed (Contra Costa and Santa Clara) or required to keep them closed (Imperial and San Joaquin) based upon their duration on the county monitoring list.
The scope of this action is defined as follows:
- Brewpubs, breweries, bars, and pubs, should close until those establishments are allowed to resume operation per state guidance and local permission, unless they are offering sit-down, dine-in meals. Alcohol can only be sold in the same transaction as a meal.
- Dine-in restaurants, brewpubs, breweries, bars, and pubs that provide sit-down meals should follow the dine-in restaurant guidance and should continue to encourage takeout and delivery service whenever possible.
- Brewpubs, breweries, bars, and pubs that do not provide sit-down meals themselves but can contract with another vendor to do so can serve dine-in meals provided both businesses follow the dine-in restaurant guidance and alcohol is only sold in the same transaction as a meal.
- Venues that are currently authorized to provide off-sale beer, wine, and spirits to be consumed off premises and do not offer sit-down, dine-in meals should follow the guidance for retail operations and offer curbside sales only, until local and/or statewide rules allow additional retail activity.
- Producers of beer, wine, and spirits should follow the guidance for manufacturing operations.
- This guidance is not intended for concert, performance, or entertainment venues. Those types of establishments should remain closed until they are allowed to resume modified or full operation through a specific reopening order or guidance. Establishments that serve full meals must discontinue this type of entertainment until these types of activities are allowed to resume modified or full operation.
- Brewpubs, breweries, bars, and pubs in counties unaffected by this order and whose health officer has approved further reopening may follow the guidance for restaurants, wineries, and bars on the
“California is using data and science to guide our response to COVID-19. We are actively monitoring COVID-19 across the state and working closely with counties where there are increased rates and concerning patterns of transmission. Closing bars in these counties is one of a number of targeted actions counties are implementing across our state to slow the virus’ spread and reduce risk,” said Dr. Sonia Angell, State Public Health Officer and Director of the California Department of Public Health. “We all have our part in the fight against community spread of COVID 19. If you go out then remember, wear a face covering, keep your distance and wash your hands frequently.”
Community spread of COVID-19 continues to be a concern across the state, and in particular for counties on the County Monitoring List. Community spread increases the likelihood of expanded transmission of COVID-19 in settings such as nursing homes, homeless shelters, jails and prisons. Counties will continue to take action to limit the transmission of COVID-19, including re-instituting community measures such as the closure of bars.
Californians must remain vigilant against this virus. COVID-19 is still circulating in California, and in some parts of the state, growing stronger. That’s why it is critical we take this step to limit the spread of the virus in the counties that are seeing the biggest increases. Each of us has the power to limit the spread of this virus. Wear a face covering and keep physically distant outside the home. Don’t gather in groups, and if you are older or have a condition that puts you at higher risk of COVID-19, protect yourself by staying home. —Governor Gavin Newsom
The reason behind the closures: Bars are social environments where groups of people mix. In these environments alcohol consumption reduces inhibition and impairs judgment, leading to reduced compliance with recommended core personal protective measures, such as the mandatory use of face coverings and the practice of social and physical distancing. Bars are generally louder environments requiring raised voices leading to the greater projection of droplets. These factors present a higher likelihood of transmission of COVID-19 within groups, between groups, and among the workforce. Public health professionals within California and throughout the nation have identified bars as the highest risk sector of non-essential business currently open. Beyond the higher risk of transmission in bar settings, contract tracing, a key measure needed to control spread, is also more challenging in bars because of the constant mixing among patrons and a lack of record-keeping of those in attendance.
More information about the state’s COVID-19 guidance is on the California Department of Public Health’s Guidance web page.
More information about reopening California and what individuals can do to prevent the spread of COVID-19, visit Coronavirus (COVID-19) in California.