Contra Costa County to delay reopening gyms, bars and other businesses

Contra Costa County will delay reopening various businesses and activities that were scheduled to resume operating Wednesday due to the recent flare-up of new COVID-19 coronavirus cases, county officials said Monday.

Contra Costa Health Services had planned to allow the reopening of businesses like bars, gyms, indoor museums, hotels and activities like indoor dining on Wednesday. County health officials postponed that timeline following warnings from Gov. Gavin Newsom to avoid reopening bars across the state.

Independent of Newsom's warning, county health officials also noted that hospitalizations due to the coronavirus and the recent rise in community spread made it unwise to reopen sectors of the economy in which people would be in closer proximity. "These businesses and activities will remain closed in Contra Costa until county data indicate that the spread of the virus has slowed, as measured by at least a week of stable case numbers, hospitalizations and percent of tests that are positive," the county said in a statement.

County officials indicated on Friday that new data on the virus' spread was giving them pause to continue reopening the local economy. The county's seven-day coronavirus hospitalization average has risen 75 percent from June 15 to June 29, according to CCHS. The county's coronavirus testing positivity rate has also jumped from 4 to 6 percent during that time and average number of new cases has jumped from 38 per day to 87 per day.

County health officials posited that people under 40 are driving the latest rise in cases; 55 percent of the county's positive tests in June were among people under 40 compared to 38 percent in April. Residents are still required to wear face coverings in public places and public health officials continue to advise people to practice physical distancing when appropriate and avoid large crowds and gatherings.

County residents can get tested for free at one of eight community testing sites throughout Contra Costa County. A full list of testing sites can be found at Testing appointments can be made by visiting the county's coronavirus website or by calling (844) 421-0804.