The current data reflects that community spread of infection in Madera County is of increasing concern. In addition to the impact on the general population, community spread increases the likelihood of expanded transmission of COVID-19 in congregate settings such as nursing homes, homeless shelters, jails and prisons.
Infection of these vulnerable populations in these settings can be catastrophic. Higher levels of community spread also increase the likelihood of infection among individuals at high risk of serious outcomes from COVID-19, including the elderly and those with underlying health conditions. For Madera County, the risk is high enough that actions must be taken to protect the public.
The Pandemic Resilience Roadmap classifies bars, pubs, breweries, brewpubs, dine-in restaurants, wineries and tasting rooms, family entertainment centers, zoos, museums, and cardrooms as Stage 2 or Stage 3 sectors with high risk of transmission due to a number of features of the businesses and the behaviors that occur within them.
Public health studies have shown that the risk of transmission is exacerbated in indoor spaces, particularly when lacking appropriate ventilation. The sectors specified above, operating indoors, operate at the highest risk of all sectors allowed to reopen to date. These sectors are settings where groups convene and may mix with others for a prolonged period of time, increasing the risk of escalating the transmission rate of COVID-19.
While physical distancing is critical to mitigating exposure, it is intended to protect an individual with brief exposures or outdoor exposures. In contrast to indoor spaces, wind and the viral dilution in outdoor spaces can help reduce viral load.
Bars, both indoor and outdoor, have additional risk factors. A bar is a social setting where typically not only small groups convene, but also where groups mix with other groups. Bars also have an added risk imposed by the consumption of alcohol as the primary activity offered in such venues.
Alcohol consumption slows brain activity, reduces inhibition, and impairs judgment, factors which contribute to reduced compliance with recommended core personal protective measures, such as the mandatory use of face coverings and maintaining six feet of distance from people in different households, both indoors and outdoors. Louder environments and the cacophony of conversation that are typical in bar settings also require raised voices and greater projection of orally emitted viral droplets.
In summary, while these businesses represent a valued part of the fabric of our community, the characteristics of these types of establishments contribute to an environment with substantially increased risks for COVID-19 transmission. Based on Madera County’s current level of community spread of infection, the State of California mandates that a health officer order be put in place to restrict the operation of these indoor businesses.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, as Local Public Health Officer, order:
Madera County shall close bars, pubs, brewpubs, and breweries, whether operating indoors or outdoors.
Madera County shall restrict indoor operations as specified:
Dine-in restaurants must close indoor seating to customers. During this closure all dine-in restaurants may continue to utilize outdoor seating and must comply with the guidance for dine-in restaurants. Restaurants should continue to encourage takeout and delivery service whenever possible.
Wineries and tasting rooms must close indoor services to customers. During this closure all wineries and tasting rooms must comply with the guidance for restaurants, wineries, and bars.
Family entertainment centers and movie theaters must close indoor services and attractions to customers.
Family entertainment centers may continue to provide outdoor services to customers, and must comply with the movie theaters and family entertainment centers.
Drive-in movie theaters may continue to operate and should follow additional applicable guidance for retailers of Drive-In Movie Theaters.
Indoor attractions at zoos and museums must close to visitors.
i. Zoos and museums may continue to operate outdoor attractions and must follow the guidance for zoos, museums.
e. Cardrooms must close indoor services to customers and must follow the guidance for cardrooms.
3. These closures shall remain in effect in Madera County until I direct otherwise, which will be no earlier than July 28, 2020.
4. Pursuant to the authority under EO N-60-20, and Health and Safety Code sections 120130(c), 120175, 120195, 120200, 120210, 120215, and 120220, this order is to go into effect immediately and shall stay in effect until further notice.
— Sara Bosse, Public Health Director,
Simon Paul, MD,