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Citing the fastest increase in new coronavirus cases so far, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday pushed Kern and 38 other counties back into more restrictive reopening tiers, invoking what he called an "emergency break" meant to prevent the health care system from being overwhelmed. 

The restrictions on businesses and other sectors take effect Tuesday, according to a news release from the governor's office. In Kern County the move from the red to purple tier will mean that restaurants can only serve diners outside, and churches, gyms, movie theaters and museums may only conduct activities outdoors. 

"Now is the time to do all we can — government at all levels and Californians across the state — to flatten the curve again as we have done before,” Newsom said in a news release.

The reclassification will remain in effect until further notice, the news release said. Until now, the state has been updating county tier status every Tuesday. 

The California Department of Public Health is also now requiring everyone in the state to wear a face mask when outside their home except in limited situations. Individuals in a car alone or with members of their family and people who are outside and can keep 6 feet of distance from others don't have to wear a mask. Children 2 and under are exempt from the mandate as are those with medical conditions that prevent them from wearing a mask, according to updated guidelines from CDPH.

Kern County was expected to move back to the purple tier this week due to rising cases locally but normally affected sectors would be given until Friday to come into compliance with restrictions for the new tier assignment. 

“Personal decisions are critical, and I am I imploring every Californian to stay home if they can, wear a mask whenever they leave their homes, limit mixing, practice physical distancing and wash their hands," said California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly in the news release.

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