Fear of the coronavirus pandemic has led some state officials to either close bars and restaurants statewide, or place strict guidelines on capacity to prevent the the virus from continuing to spread.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced on Sunday that the state would shutter restaurants and bars. “We will be issuing an order closing all bars and restaurants in #Ohio beginning at 9:00 tonight,” he tweeted. DeWine added that establishments will be allowed to serve carry-out and delivery, but that the state can't have people "congregating and seated.”
California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced similar precautions for his state: that all restaurants must halve their occupancy levels and all bars will shutter.
"This is an absolutely critical moment in our city's history," Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti added, after announcing that gyms and theaters in L.A. would also shut down.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker followed suit, saying that his state is also requiring restaurants and bars to not permit dine-in customers by end of Monday. The closures will take place from March 16 to March 30, The Hill reports.
“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 press conference, per the Chicago Sun-Times.
Concern in Illinois grew after people went out in Chicago over the weekend to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. On Sunday morning, city officials announced that establishments that sell liquor would have to have "less than half of their regular maximum capacity and in addition, cap entrance to 100 people,” NBC Chicago reports.
The Ohio and Illinois announcements arrived after D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser placed limitations on bars and restaurants in the nation’s capital, per The Hill. Starting on Sunday, businesses will not be allowed to have bar seating or serve standing customers. Additionally, establishments can’t serve more than six customers at a single table. Gatherings of over 250 people in one place are also not permitted, and nightclubs have been shuttered immediately.
Nashville Mayor John Cooper has reportedly also requested that the state close all bars and limit capacity in restaurants—and many Portland restaurants and bars have either closed or are only providing takeout. Yet, some bars in Nashville are fighting to stay open despite growing concerns.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is also taking strict action by asking all restaurants and bars in the state to voluntarily shutter. “Voluntarily close down. Voluntarily close down your bar, your restaurant, your gymnasium,” Cuomo said during a news conference on Sunday, perVice. “At one point, people actually react reasonably and responsibly. People say, you know, I’m not gonna go into a bar with 100 other people bumping up against me because it’s too high a risk to have a martini. I can have a martini at home.”
New York Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez also urged people to self-quarantine and not go out.
Later on Sunday, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said that he will sign an Executive Order "limiting restaurants, bars and cafes to food take-out and delivery." He added that "movie theaters, small theater houses, and concert venues" will be closed as well, as of Tuesday.
Here's his official statement:
Gov. Cuomo added that New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey are taking joint regional action to reduce the spread of coronavirus.
Our primary goal is to slow the spread of #Coronavirus so that the wave doesn’t crash our healthcare system. Social distancing is the best way to do that.
I have called on the federal gov't to implement nationwide protocols, but in their absence we are taking this on ourselves.
The mayor of Hoboken, New Jersey, Ravinder Bhalla, also announced new restrictions that will go into effect on Monday, such as a curfew and a ban on restaurants and bars from serving food.
And on Saturday, people were told to leave Bourbon Street by New Orleans police.
Meanwhile, the CDC officially recommended the "cancellation or postponement of all events with 50 people or more for the next eight weeks."
The short of it is, if you're thinking about going to a bar, don't.