Public/Global Health

At least 20 states order partial closures of restaurants, bars amid coronavirus

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At least 20 states have ordered that their restaurants and bars close to in-person diners amid the coronavirus pandemic that has shaken the country.

Colorado, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Oregon and Vermont joined the growing list of states that are regulating the restaurant and bar industries to combat the community spread of the virus.

States are taking these drastic measures as the number of coronavirus cases in the country ticks up to more than 4,600, which have caused 85 deaths and 17 recoveries, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) announced Monday that all restaurants, bars, movie theaters, other theaters, casinos, gyms, breweries and coffeehouses would close across the state. 

But food- and beverage-serving locations will still be able to provide delivery service, window service, walk-up service, drive-thru service and drive-up service, according to a release

“The more quickly we can slow transmission of the virus, which translates into less people requiring hospitalization at the same time and more lives saved,” Jill Hunsaker Ryan, the executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, said in a statement.

Minnesota directed a “partial closure” of bars, restaurants and “other places of public amusement” starting Tuesday at 5 p.m., Gov. Tim Walz (D) announced Monday. 

“Doing the right thing to protect ourselves and one another — social distancing — is hard on our economy in the short run, but it will ultimately be the right thing for all of us,” he said in a statement.

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) also told his constituents Monday that all restaurants and bars would shut down in-person dining and shift to takeout, delivery and drive-thru services only through at least April 7. He said in a statement that the closure of bars and restaurants in other states influenced the decision.

“We do not take this decision lightly,” he said. “This will be hard, but we are all in this together.”

The New Hampshire governor added that service industry employees will qualify for unemployment benefits starting Tuesday.

In Oregon, Gov. Kate Brown (D) took similar actions Monday, limiting food service to carry-out and delivery only, besides at hospitals, workplaces and “other essential facilities.”

The changes starting Tuesday and set to be effective for at least four weeks also include canceling all events designated for 25 or more people, except workplaces, grocery stores, pharmacies and retail stores.

“I urge Oregonians to avoid any gatherings of 10 people or more,” she posted

Starting Tuesday at 2 p.m., all Vermont bars and restaurants will close besides for providing take-out and delivery services, Gov. Phil Scott (R) announced Monday.

“I want Vermonters to know we’re continuously evaluating other mitigation steps and we’ll continue to communicate those as they are put into place,” he posted. “We will get through this, but it’ll take all of us doing our part.”

The Louisiana, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Kentucky state governments also regulated the restaurant and bar industries with closures, they announced Monday. 

Among several other states, Massachusetts and Washington released their closures of in-person dining at restaurants and bars on Sunday, with both starting Tuesday.

The restaurant and bar shutdowns follow the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention recommendation Sunday that people should avoid gatherings of 50 people or more for the next eight weeks. President Trump suggested Monday that people further restrict their gatherings to 10 people or less.

Tags bars Colorado Coronavirus Donald Trump Jared Polis Minnesota New Hampshire Oregon Restaurants Tim Walz Vermont

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