The states of Ohio and Illinois will be closing all bars and restaurants starting on Sunday night as a measure to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
As The Hill reported, the governors of both states announced the measures on Sunday, with Mike DeWine of Ohio tweeting that all establishments would close starting at 9 p.m. local time on Sunday. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker followed shortly afterward with an announcement that establishments serving dine-in customers would close by the end of the day on Monday and last through the end of March.
Pritzker said they were working on finding a way to keep restaurants open to serve take-out to residents who needed it.
“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 announcing the move.
The measures are the latest and some of the most stringent in the country in response to the fast-spreading virus. As the report noted, there are more than 3,000 cases of coronavirus across the continental U.S., with experts expecting that number to jump significantly in coming days and weeks.
Public health experts have called on people to remain as isolated as possible to slow the spread of the coronavirus, saying that doing so would allow hospitals and health systems to be able to properly treat those infected. In the hardest-hit regions of Italy, now an epicenter of the outbreak, hospitals have been unable to keep up with the large number of patients and reportedly resorted to extreme measures, including refusing treatment to patients who are too old or who have compromised immune systems.
A number of other states and cities have enacted their own measures banning large gatherings. As The Hill noted, the mayor of Washington, D.C., already announced strict new regulations for bars and restaurants, with no more than six customers allowed at a single table and no more than 250 people permitted in a single space.
Many areas have also closed public places and schools, and outside the U.S., some countries have taken even more widespread efforts. Both Spain and Italy recently instituted nationwide lockdowns, ordering all people to remain in their homes other than essential trips like shopping and picking up medicine. China undertook similar measures in the original outbreak, locking down the region around the city of Wuhan where the virus outbreak started.