Bars close in Riverside county as ICU capacity nears 100%

Bars close in Riverside county as ICU capacity nears 100%

Olivia Sandusky

Three weeks after reopening, Chill Bar in Palm Springs announced they’re closing their doors once again due to COVID-19.

“Although as of Saturday night none of my employees had tested positive, we’ve decided to pause and take a break and see what happens in Riverside County,” said Rob Giesecke, owner of Chill Bar.

Other Palm Springs bars like Streetbar and Toucans Tiki Loungs have also shut down just as Riverside County announces all breweries, bars and pubs must close by 2 a.m on June 30th

“Face coverings and social distancing, it just doesn’t seem to be there at bars. And you’re getting a younger audience that’s more susceptible, so I think the order is one that we hope will be enforced by the businesses themselves,” said Riverside County Health Specialist Jose Arballo Jr.

One reason behind the closure, rising ICU bed usage.

“There are different segments of the region that have higher and lower usage numbers. Out in the Coachella Valley that number is just about 100 percent of the beds in the ICU,” said Arballo Jr.

Positive cases in Palm Springs are also trending upwards, but the virus isn’t just affecting businesses in the area.

The Palm Springs Police Department recently reported three of their sworn personnel tested positive for COVID-19, and 11 others are in quarantine.

“They are responding to calls for service both medically related and non-medically related and unfortunately you just don’t know if someone’s COVID positive, so when you come in contact with them it’s definitely a risk that our officers face,” said Sgt. Mike Casavan with the Palm Springs Police Department.

Now the department and local business owners wait to see what the future holds.

“Many people are disappointed but the safety of staff members, customers and just the broader community is really the most important thing,” said Giesecke.

You can read the county’s press release on bars here:

Bars ordered closed in Riverside County in response to upswing in coronavirus cases

Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser has ordered all bars in Riverside County closed to help slow the spread of coronavirus, which has seen a recent upswing in confirmed cases.

The order, which is effective Tuesday (June 30), comes on the heels of a recommendation from Gov. Gavin Newsom, who suggested Sunday that Riverside and seven other counties on a watch list close their drinking establishments. Newsom also ordered on Sunday that seven counties, including Los Angeles County, close their bars.

“People don’t social distance well after a couple drinks, and it’s one of the hardest environments to trace contacts in,” said Dr. Cameron Kaiser, Riverside County public health officer. “My hope is that this will be only temporary and further closures won’t be needed, but it all depends on what every one of us as a county do to slow more spread.”

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