Contra Costa and Other Bay Area Counties Move to Contain Spread of Coronavirus

Press Release


On Thursday, California reached the unfortunate milestone of 1 million COVID cases statewide. With transmission and hospitalizations on the rise, health officers representing counties across the Bay Area are tightening local rules for high-risk indoor activities where the virus can spread more easily.

Contra Costa Health Services today issued an order to close, effective Tuesday, Nov. 17 at 8 a.m.:

  • Indoor dining
  • Indoor fitness centers
  • Concession stands at movie theaters

Dine-in restaurant and gyms reopened at reduced capacities when the county entered the state’s red tier in late September. But recent increases in COVID cases and hospitalizations make the closures necessary to help contain spread of the virus.

“Indoor interactions at restaurants, movie theaters, and indoor gyms and fitness centers are high-risk activities,” said Dr. Chris Farnitano, health officer for Contra Costa County. “And given what we’re seeing happen across the country and the region, we must act now.”

Diners at restaurants remove their masks to eat or drink, as do movie patrons when snacking on food from concession stands. People also breathe heavily while they exercise at indoor gyms, increasing the risk of droplet and aerosol transmission of COVID-19, which can be only partially reduced by wearing a face covering.

Contra Costa recently moved from the state’s orange tier to the more restrictive red tier because of an increasing number of cases in the county. Meanwhile, hospitalizations in Contra Costa have returned to levels not seen in several weeks. On Nov. 11, 50 people with COVID were hospitalized in the county – the highest number since September.

“I’ve said this many times before, but it’s so important I can’t repeat it enough: The best way to protect against COVID-19 is to wear a face covering whenever you are near people who do not live with you, and whenever you go in a building that is not your home,” said Dr. Farnitano.

Health officials are especially worried about people gathering indoors with the holidays coming up and may consider other closures in the days and weeks ahead. Contra Costa County, which is now in the red tier, could move into the state’s most restrictive tier, the purple tier, within the coming weeks. If the county moves into the purple tier, schools that haven’t reopened will have to remain closed until the county moves back into the red tier or until they receive a waiver from the state.

“Our hope is that this new health order will slow down the spread of COVID so schools will have a better chance to reopen,” Dr. Farnitano said.


  1. According to the county, most new COVID-19 cases in Contra Costa are spread within the home, with an infected member of a household passing the virus to people with whom they live. Look not Gyms where everyone wears masks where sanitation is top notch. Mental health is just as important as physical health. Please stop lumping gym activities as Super Spreader COVID breading areas. Please do your homework Dr. Farnitano. Lets stop living in fear and use common sense.

  2. According to the county, most new COVID-19 cases in Contra Costa are spread within the home, with an infected member of a household passing the virus to people with whom they live. Face coverings in public reduce the risk of bringing COVID-19 into the home, where people usually do not mask or practice physical distancing. Dr. Faritino please us common sense and look at the gyms in your county that have taken all steps to prevent the Spread.Sanitation, mask wearing, the social distancing all are in use I have yet to hear of gyms that are a Super Spreading cesspools. Physical health is just as important as mental health.

  3. The ENTIRE country should have been shut down for 30 days and that’s how one gets rid of a virus! We would have been long over this now, but people are STUPID!

    • First, that wasn’t possible, ever. How would food, medicines, medical services, police, fire, and other emergency services be processed, delivered and received?

      Second, we still cannot stop the flow of illegal aliens into the country.

      Third, after the 30 days, Americans would have been exposed to the Coronavirus as soon as travel was permitted to and from other countries.

      Name-calling is divisive and unproductive.


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