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Chairs but no people: Glimpses of California virus reclosing

LOS ANGELES (AP) — When restaurants and bars began reopening in California after a stay-at-home order, employees took down caution tape, hung “Welcome Back” signs and placed chairs neatly around tables in preparation for customers.

Hair salons and stores also started to open their doors, as people began to claw back some normalcy.

Then the virus surged again. The yellow tape went back up. The signs came down. And the chairs were again stacked up.

All those chairs — piled up, roped off, flipped on top of tables — are a symbol of the return to anti-virus restrictions in the state.

California, which imposed the nation’s first statewide stay-at-home order in March, initially successfully managed the virus. Gov. Gavin Newsom moved quickly to reopen the economy in May. But then confirmed cases and hospitalizations began skyrocketing, and restrictions began mounting again.

This week, Newsom shut bars and banned inside restaurant dining throughout the state; indoor religious services, gyms and hair and nail salons are also now off-limits in most places.

Now, through the window of a restaurant in the Koreatown section of Los Angeles, chairs can be seen flipped over on top of tables. At a food court in the same neighborhood, yellow-and-blue caution tape is draped over tables and chairs.

Seats in the waiting area at the city’s Union Station are pushed up against the wall and roped off. In a condominium complex in La Habra, poolside chairs are stacked and covered with plastic.

By JAE C. HONG
Associated Press

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