Drastic measures taken as officials shut down restaurants across the US
An overview of the restaurant and bar closures across the country
As the covid-19 pandemic intensifies across the US, officials have taken extraordinary measures to slow the spread of the virus, from curfews to social distancing. There has been particular focus on the restaurant industry, with many city and state officials taking extreme steps to close down bars and eateries.
The governors of Ohio, Massachusetts, Illinois, Michigan, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Kentucky, Washington and Maryland have taken the most drastic actions, ordering that all bars and restaurants across the entire state should be closed. Takeout and delivery are still permitted.
Here’s an overview of restaurant and bar closures across the country…
Last night Gavin Newsom, the governor of California, ordered that all wineries, brewpubs and bars should be closed. He explained this is not an “official” order (unlike Illinois and Ohio where the orders can be legally enforced). Newsom said he could make the order official if bars don’t follow the guidance. The governor did not make the same recommendation for restaurants, noting that the financial impact of a statewide shutdown of all restaurants would devastate “businesses and workers.” He encouraged restaurants to offer curbside food service and food deliveries.
However the mayor of Los Angeles has gone ahead and shut down restaurants across the city until March 31. Angelenos can still order for takeout and delivery.
In a tweet this morning, the mayor reassured people that there is not a food shortage in LA, and that markets remain open.
Despite the pandemic, bars in Chicago were still busy this past weekend with St Patrick’s Day partiers, ignoring advice about social distancing. The city’s mayor Lori Lightfoot and Illinois governor JB Pritzker expressed their disappointment, and now the governor has ordered all restaurant and bar owners to close for two weeks. Delivery, takeout and curbside service will still be allowed.
The latest coming in from Massachusetts is that all bars and restaurants will be closed to diners between March 17 and April 6. Grocery stores and pharmacies will stay open. All Boston restaurants can offer carry out, even if they weren’t previously licensed to do so.
Last night New York City mayor Bill de Blasio shut down restaurants and bars, with the exception of takeout and delivery, taking effect Tuesday March 17 at 9am. He said in a statement: “Our lives are all changing in ways that were unimaginable just a week ago. We are taking a series of actions that we never would have taken otherwise in an effort to save the lives of loved ones and our neighbors.”
Governor Tom Wolf has ordered restaurants to close in Montgomery, Delaware, Bucks, Chester, and Allegheny counties. Philadelphia officials have just announced the closure of all non-essential businesses, including restaurants and bars. This goes into effect at 5pm, Monday March 16.
The governor of Washington state, which is considered the epicentre of covid-19 in the US, said he would sign an emergency declaration that temporarily shuts down bars, restaurants and places of entertainment and recreation statewide.
“These are very difficult decisions, but hours count here and very strong measures are necessary to slow the spread of the virus. I know there will be significant economic impacts to all our communities and we are looking at steps to help address those challenges,” Gov Jay Inslee said in the statement.
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