Gatherings of 50 or More Prohibited as City Joins Nationwide Wave of New Restrictions
By Lou Hirsh CoStar News
San Diego county and city officials have imposed eight new orders that include shutting bars and banning on-site restaurant dining, as the nation's eighth largest city joined a statewide and nationwide wave of restrictions aimed at stemming the spread of coronavirus.
All public or private gatherings of 50 or more people are prohibited at least through the end of the month, and alcohol serving businesses like bars are ordered to close. All food service must be done by delivery, pickup or drive-through, and social distancing is required for people picking up food on-site.
The city and county also recommended that people 65 and older or those who have a chronic underlying condition or compromised immune system to self-quarantine at home. County health officials said San Diego County had 55 documented cases of coronavirus as of Monday -- compared with just one case a week ago -- but numbers were expected to rise locally and nationally as testing becomes more widely available.
All people arriving in the county will now be subject to a 14-day home quarantine and self-monitoring if they had traveled to or through countries on the "Level 3" or high-risk watch list of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Businesses in the region are ordered to suspend policies or procedures requiring doctor verification for sick or other leave approvals.
The Monday moves followed the city's March 12 declaration of a state of emergency, as cities look to stem the spread of the virus and prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed with cases in coming weeks.
It follows similar efforts to shut down public gathering in places like restaurants, gyms and movie theaters by the city of Los Angeles and an even more intense order for people in counties in the San Francisco Bay Area to "shelter in place" and avoid any non-essential travel outside their homes.
Several nationwide organizations have canceled or postponed large conventions that were planned in the city of San Diego during March and April. Popular commercial districts, such as downtown San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter, have canceled upcoming events including St. Patrick's Day celebrations.
The new San Diego orders go into effect at 12 a.m. Tuesday morning.
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