County of San Diego logoSan Diego County restaurants must close nightly at 10 p.m. starting Wednesday, July 1 until further notice, the County Health and Human Services Agency announced Tuesday.

Bars, wineries, distilleries and breweries that are allowed to serve food must also close nightly at 10 p.m. until 5 a.m.

The County is taking the action to prevent additional community outbreaks and the spread of COVID-19.

“In light of the high numbers of positive cases in recent days and reports today of 10 current community outbreaks throughout the County, a decision was made to close these establishments at 10 p.m.,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “As the night wears on, restaurants have a tendency to become bars and people are more likely to let their guard down when it comes to social distancing.”

Dr. Wooten emphasized the need to protect the public’s health as San Diego, the state and nation continue to see a jump in COVID-19 cases.

Locally, the number of positive cases climbed by 317 for a total of 14,149. The increase was not as steep as the previous day’s record high of 498. Current COVID-19-related cases in ICUs was at a record high of 182. Four new deaths were reported for a total of 365.

The largest contributors to the number of community outbreaks are bars and restaurants, and private residences. The following 10 outbreaks in community settings were confirmed during the last seven days.

With the increase of businesses and activities opened, people in the 20 to 29 age group are going out more and contributing to the higher number of cases.

With the Fourth of July holiday weekend coming up, San Diegans may want to celebrate with friends and family at backyard gatherings. However, the County is asking residents to continue to use caution and, if they must gather, stay with immediate family only for house parties and take all precautions.

If you do go out to dinner, wear a facial covering, maintain social distancing and frequently wash your hands.

The County is not closing beaches, but cities will have the final say. And County officials say those who go the beach should also take the same precautions.

Regional hospitals support the latest public health orders.

“It’s important to remember that the goal is to protect the health of the region and our community throughout the pandemic as well as preserve hospital capacity,” said Demetrios Alexiou, president and CEO of the Hospital Association of San Diego and Imperial Counties. “The recent trends that we’re seeing is putting that second item at risk. In the past week, we’ve seen hospitalizations go up from 300 or so to well over 400 now and there is no end in sight as those trends continue to go up.”