7 Areas That Are Cracking Down Hard on Dining Out Restrictions
More than 3.3 million people in the U.S. have contracted COVID-19 since March and July has proven to be the worst month of them all, with the daily count of new infections surpassing 60,000.
The rapid increase in new cases comes after weeks of restrictions lifting nationwide in addition to a decline in people's willingness to wear masks. However, some areas of the country are beginning to take action, once again, to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. For example, at the end of June, seven states began to reverse or delay restaurants reopening indefinitely. More recently, The Harvard Global Health Institute released a data set indicating which states are in dire need of another shutdown.
Now, a few states and counties have made a few new changes in their respective restaurant reopening process in an effort to help flatten the climbing infection rates. Here are seven such places that are enforcing more restrictions on dining and drinking establishments.
According to the national tracker created by The Harvard Global Institute, Arizona has the highest infection rate in the nation. For every 100,000 people, about 48 become infected each day. In response to this alarming increase, Governor Doug Dacey ordered on Saturday that all restaurants limit their capacity to just 50% with tables spaced at least six feet apart. Under this order, buffets and self-serve food bars will have to close and patrons will be required to wear masks at any moment they are not seated at their tables. Dacey will reassess the order every two weeks before making any further advancements or reversals in the reopening process.
Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham announced last Thursday that the state will halt indoor dining and close down bars starting Monday, July 13. Outdoor dining is still allowed as long as establishments remain at 50% capacity. In a news conference, Lujan Grisham said, "Restaurants did not do this to New Mexicans," the Santa Fe New Mexican reports. "New Mexicans did this to restaurants."
Allegheny County, Pennsylvania
In Allegheny County (which includes Pittsburgh), the county health department banned all indoor dining and drinking at bars, restaurants, and other businesses. The order became effective on Friday, July 10.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced on Friday that businesses must deny customers who refuse to wear a mask. Businesses are also required to post signs indicating that they have a right to not cater to customers who do not comply with this new order as they could lose their licenses.
In Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot ordered on Friday, July 10 that bars, restaurants, and other establishments that serve alcohol must close at midnight. Alcohol cannot be sold, however, after 11 p.m.
South Carolina is one of the five states with the highest infection rates right now, at around 30 new cases per 100,000 people. Still, not many strict enforcements have appeared to been made other than Governor Henry McMaster ordering all bars, restaurants, and breweries must now close at 11 p.m.
Orange County, North Carolina
Government officials in Orange County, Nort Carolina—which is home to Chapel Hill—issued an order that went in effect on Friday requiring restaurants to close on-site dining at 10:00 p.m.