Officials in Ohio and Illinois have ordered restaurants and bar to close in the state in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced Sunday that all bars and restaurants around Ohio must close Sunday night at 9 p.m.
He said delaying action is not an option. “Every day we delay, more people will die,” he tweeted.
However, Dewine said restaurants can continue operating for pickup and delivery orders.
“If we do not act and get some distance between people, our healthcare system in #Ohio will not hold up,” he tweeted. “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.”
In Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker has also ordered bars and restaurants shut—starting Monday night and lasting through March 30—although they also will be allowed to remain open for deliveries and pickup orders.
Pritzker’s action came in reaction to the crowds that filled restaurants and bars around the state on Saturday to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.
Earlier Sunday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot asked businesses that sell alcohol to reduce their capacity by more than half or not allow more than 100 people at a time.
Pritzker said he had tried earlier this week to appeal to everyone’s good judgment to stay home, to avoid bars, not to congregate in crowds. He added that it is unfortunate that many people didn’t take that seriously.
“The time for persuasion and public appeals is over,” he said. “This is not a joke. No one is immune to this.”
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb has not ordered any retail closures, although he has restricted gatherings to no more than 250 people.
His spokeswoman, Rachel Hoffmeyer, said that Holcomb “continues to evaluate the situation. We will send out notice of any decisions that are made.”
Patrick Tamm, CEO and president of the Indiana Restaurant & Lodging Association, said he has has not been told by any state or local officials that they plan to take any similar action immediately. He said he hopes government officials would talk with the association before making such a move.
Sam Toia, president of the Illinois Restaurant Association President, said he’s working with state and local officials to help restaurants and their employees during the two-week shutdown.
“We want to protect the health of our customers and our team numbers,” he said.
Toia said the organization will keep advocating for economic relief for restaurant employees and small businesses.