Californians turn on one another as coronavirus shuts down the state for a second time

A surge of coronavirus cases in California is pitting residents of the Golden State against one another, with one side frustrated that not enough people are taking the virus seriously, while others are angered by the state’s response and its impact on small businesses.

For months, that anger had been directed toward Gov. Gavin Newsom and other state health officials for shutting down businesses to curb the spread of the virus. Pockets of protests emerged throughout the state as the financial effects began to be felt.

FILE: People line up to take a COVID-19 test in the Skid Row district in Los Angeles. 

FILE: People line up to take a COVID-19 test in the Skid Row district in Los Angeles. 

The frustration temporarily subsided as businesses were given the green light last month to gradually reopen with restrictions in place. Many people, restless from months of shut-ins, flouted social distancing rules and refused to wear masks as they attended family dinners and outdoor parties.

By early July, cases began to rise in California, leading to Gov. Newsom’s announcement on Monday that all bars across the state must close up shop and that restaurants, wineries, tasting rooms, family entertainment centers, zoos, museums, and card rooms must suspend indoor activities.

The Democratic governor also announced that all gyms, places of worship, malls, personal care services, barbershops, salons, and non-critical offices in counties on the state’s “monitoring list” had to shut down under the new order.

The order affects more than 30 counties which are home to about 80 percent of California’s population.

The order sparked a flurry of anger from residents, many of whom accused their fellow Californians’ supposed carelessness of creating shutdown 2.0.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom visits the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection's McClellan Reload Base in Sacramento, Calif.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom visits the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection’s McClellan Reload Base in Sacramento, Calif.

“It really, in my opinion, shines a light on the amount of entitlement we have as a society,” tweeted actor Coby Ryan McLaughlin. “Wear a mask, don’t go to [expletive] house parties. Just chill out. Follow the rules for once, and don’t make it this huge political issue.”


Others were quick to point out the “wear-a-mask” crowds’ hypocrisy for remaining silent on the issue when protesters came out in droves – many without masks or social distancing – in the wake of the police custody death of George Floyd in late May.

“But the dems said we can’t get it at a protest,” wrote a user cited by the Los Angeles Times, in response to a protest video. “Just the beach or a bar or restaurant. Home Depot and Walmart are safe.”


The matter of reopening school campuses has also become a focal point of debate. This week both Los Angeles and San Diego – the two largest school districts in California – announced that they would continue online classrooms in the fall, while Orange County – run largely by conservative policymakers – voted that schools will reopen without requiring masks or social distancing.

Fox News’ Andrew O’Reilly contributed to this report.

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