Newsletter: California takes a step back


Amid a surge in coronavirus cases, California closes restaurant dining rooms, wineries and card rooms for at least three weeks in 19 counties.


California Takes a Step Back

Gov. Gavin Newsom has ordered tougher restrictions on indoor activities for most of the state, marking a major step backward in the reopening and an attempt to slow an alarming rise of the coronavirus in 19 counties.

The governor took action to halt visits to indoor restaurants, bars, wineries and tasting rooms, entertainment centers, movie theaters, zoos, museums and card rooms for the next three weeks in Los Angeles, Riverside, Ventura, Orange, San Bernardino and Sacramento counties and other regions hard hit by the virus.

Newsom is imposing the restrictions in an effort to reduce opportunities for people to gather indoors in advance of the Fourth of July holiday weekend, when officials fear disaster if Californians continue to ignore safety guidelines and businesses remain open in areas already experiencing significant spikes in coronavirus infections.

Newsom is also recommending the cancellation of all fireworks shows on the Fourth of July in the affected counties, and is urging Californians to rethink having large get-togethers with friends and neighbors to celebrate the holiday.


The governor emphasized that the new mandates would allow businesses to remain open for outdoor service and takeout. Bars and other drinking establishments in the affected counties are also allowed to seat guests outdoors as long as they sell a meal with drinks in the same transaction and meet all of same safety requirements as restaurants.

As of Wednesday at 5 p.m., there were 237,068 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in California, following record increases earlier in the week, and 6,152 total deaths, according to data tracked by The Times.

More Top Coronavirus Headlines

— The American pharmaceutical giant Gilead Sciences is coming under scrutiny for agreements that activists say will restrict global access to remdesivir, an experimental antiviral drug that has shown promise in treating COVID-19. The Foster City, Calif.-based company has signed confidential licensing deals with nine pharmaceutical manufacturers — including seven in India — that would prevent the generic version of the drug from being distributed in dozens of countries.

— California is now halting an initiative to bring COVID-19 testing to rural towns and disadvantaged neighborhoods in cities, citing costs, even as the state is getting walloped by record-setting spikes in new infections and double-digit increases in hospitalizations.

— A new data visualization tool combines the number of new COVID-19 cases and deaths reported every day in each state with the dates that reopening policies have been implemented there. Here’s what its creators say we can learn from the data.


— Rural Lassen County in Northern California had few COVID-19 cases, until an inmate transfer led to a large prison outbreak.

— How a longtime paletero in L.A. has adapted to life and selling ice cream in a COVID-19 world.

For more, sign up for Coronavirus Today, a special edition of The Times’ Health and Science newsletter.

Deeper Into the Abyss

At a time when white Americans are calling out racism against Black Americans more vigorously than at any moment in recent memory, President Trump has chosen blatant appeals to racism instead.

On Wednesday, he suggested that painting the words “Black Lives Matter” on New York City’s Fifth Avenue would amount to a “symbol of hate.”


That came shortly after a threat by the president to veto the Pentagon’s budget legislation should it include a measure to take the names of Confederate generals off military bases, which he denounced as being sponsored by “Elizabeth ‘Pocahontas’ Warren (of all people!)”

That came only hours after his declaration that he “may END” a federal housing regulation aimed at desegregating neighborhoods, which he claimed has had “a devastating impact” on America’s suburbs. And that came roughly a day after he retweeted, then deleted a video of supporters in an almost entirely white Florida retirement community shouting “white power” from a golf cart.

Cutting Back on Police Budgets

The Los Angeles City Council voted to cut hiring at the L.A. Police Department, pushing the number of sworn officers well below 10,000 and abandoning a budget priority once seen as untouchable by city leaders.

Faced with a grim budget outlook and deluged by demands for reductions in police spending, the council voted 12 to 2 to take the LAPD down to 9,757 officers by next summer — a level of staffing not seen in the city since 2008.

Overall, the council’s decision delivered a $150-million hit to the LAPD budget, much of it coming from funds earmarked for police overtime pay. Councilman Curren Price, who pushed for the cuts, said two-thirds of the savings would ultimately be funneled into services for Black, Latino and disenfranchised communities, such as hiring programs and summer youth jobs.


Meanwhile, in New York, the City Council approved an austere budget that will shift $1 billion from policing to education and social services in the coming year.


On this day in 1952, Malibu Canyon Road opened to the public for the first time. According to The Times, the two-lane road through the Santa Monica Mountains allowed motorists to travel from Brent’s Junction to Malibu in just 18 minutes, down from an hour.

The project cost $1.5 million (about $14.4 million today). Its completion was marked with an opening ceremony that included a ribbon cutting, a parade and an appearance from “Gloria Maxwell, Miss California, who was renamed as Miss 18-Minutes-to-Malibu for the occasion.”

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— What’s open and closed at Southern California beaches, parks and trails this holiday weekend.


— Fire up the BBQ for the Fourth of July with these restaurant grilling kits.

— How to keep your pets safe during fireworks.

Editor’s note: This newsletter will have Friday off in observance of Independence Day. We’ll be back in your inbox on Monday.


— In January, Los Angeles celebrated the first project completed with funding from the city’s Proposition HHH homeless housing bond. Six months later, there has been only one other opening and dozens more are delayed with rising costs.

California is a major focus of the climate action plan from Congress’ first-ever climate change committee.

— Tomajae Tolliver worked hard to find a job after a nonprofit paid his bail. Then the coronavirus hit, leaving Tolliver among thousands of Angelenos recently released from jail now fighting both stigma and an economic downturn at once.


— The November election will feature 12 statewide ballot measures. Here they are at a glance.

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— From Sen. Kamala Harris to Rep. Karen Bass, women of color dominate Joe Biden’s list for vice president — a “historic” milestone.

— As lawmakers leave Washington for a two-week recess, hopes for police reforms are fading.

— Gunmen burst into an unregistered drug rehabilitation center in central Mexico and opened fire, killing 24 people and wounding seven, authorities said.

Hong Kong police made the first arrests under a new national security law imposed by China’s central government, as thousands of people defied tear gas and pepper pellets to protest.


— A New York appeals court has cleared the way for a publisher to distribute a tell-all book by Mary Trump, the president’s niece, over the objections of his brother.


— Despite their public statements, Hollywood’s C-suites are overwhelmingly white. What are studios doing about it?

— As a book series, “The Baby-Sitters Club” earned millions of fans in the ’80s and ’90s. The creators of a new Netflix adaption aim to recapture the magic.

— CBS’ “The Masked Singer” is known for its wacky premise and even wackier costumes. Here’s how the show’s costume designers transform celebrity contestants into swans, tigers and robots.

— L.A. jazz-soul legend Roy Ayers has a new album, and new hope for the future.


— A government report says Boeing did not give regulators documents about changes it made in a key system blamed in two deadly crashes of its 737 Max jet.


— Federal safety officials are probing allegations of defective cooling systems installed in early-model Tesla vehicles.


— Clippers coach Doc Rivers tells columnist Helene Elliott that he is hopeful yet concerned about the NBA completing its season.

Felisha Mariscal will be among the 47 MLS referees who will experience “bubble life” as a tournament gets underway next week.

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— Renaming John Wayne Airport could help Orange County confront its racist past, The Times Editorial Board writes.

— Meet Gregory “Joey” Johnson, the man who made it legal to burn the American flag.


Claudia Conway, the 15-year-old daughter of Kellyanne and George, says she hopes to use her platform on TikTok to educate others on social justice issues. (USA Today)

— Researchers have found the Grand Canyon, along with 10 other protected patches of the United States, are being defiled by microplastics. (Atlas Obscura)



Even as a rebound in COVID-19 cases brings new business closures, the gears of Hollywood’s film industry have started to turn as filming resumes on the streets of Los Angeles. Since June 19, FilmLA, the nonprofit group that handles film permits for the city and L.A. County, said it has received about 14 film permit applications per day and hundreds of calls from filmmakers interested in resuming work — far less than before the pandemic stopped production. Three TV soap operas have resumed production on stages in L.A., the group said. And one location shoot permit is for the TV show “Love in the Time of Corona.”

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