Illinois, Ohio closing all bars, restaurants in response to coronavirus

Illinois and Ohio announced on Sunday they would close all restaurants and bars in response to the growing COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We will be issuing an order closing all bars and restaurants in #Ohio beginning at 9:00 tonight,” Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine tweeted while noting that establishments would be allowed to continue carryout and delivery services.

“What we can’t have is people congregating and seated,” he said.

Shortly afterward, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said his state also would order restaurants and bars to close to dine-in customers by the end of Monday. The closures would last from March 16 through March 30, he said. 

“We are working with restaurant owners and food delivery services across the state to see if restaurants can safely keep their kitchens open, so the restaurants can continue food delivery to people at their homes,” Pritzker said at a news conference, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. 

The governors’ decisions come amid growing pressure for state and city governments to act as the number of coronavirus infections in the U.S. rises. There are more than 3,000 cases in 49 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Washington, D.C., as of Sunday afternoon.

“I’m aware that this will impact many, many good workers. I can’t tell you how sorry I am, but we will work to mitigate the suffering. It is our goal for everyone to get through this,” DeWine said in his statement on Twitter.

“Every day we delay, more people will die. If we do not act and get some distance between people, our healthcare system in #Ohio will not hold up. The loss won’t only be those impacted by #COVID19, but the danger is also to everyone else who needs hospital care for other issues,” he added. 

The announcements from Ohio and Illinois came shortly after D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced new restrictions on bars and restaurants in the nation’s capital. Beginning on Sunday, establishments will not be allowed to provide bar seating, serve standing customers or serve more than six customers at a single table. No more than 250 people will be permitted to gather in a single space, and all nightclubs in the District are ordered to cease operations immediately. 

Nashville, Tenn., Mayor John Cooper also is reportedly asking for the state to shutter all bars and limit capacity in restaurants. 

The responses also come amid criticism of the Trump administration’s lack of testing carried out across the country. Vice President Pence is slated to give an update on Sunday on what the administration is doing to ensure Americans can get access to testing.

President Trump also has issued travel restrictions on China, Iran, Europe and the U.K. as the U.S. seeks to quell the growing number of cases. 

UPDATED: 4:19 p.m.

Tags Coronavirus Donald Trump Mike Pence

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