Governors in Maryland and Indiana were the latest to order that bars and restaurants across their states close for indoor dining Monday.
Eateries closing for indoor business in California, Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and Rhode Island were just the first course of action for state officials hoping to slow the emerging virus that has led to the death of nearly 70 Americans and thousands across the world. Many states also opted to shutter non-essential businesses including movie theaters, casinos and gyms in the wake of the coronavirus.
Gov. Chris Sununu announced Monday afternoon that all restaurants and bars will be required to close for dine-in service until April 7. They will be allowed to deliver food to patrons via takeout, delivery and drive-through methods.
In Kentucky, Gov. Andy Beshear said Monday morning the state’s bars and restaurant dining rooms would close in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Louisville Courier Journal. This order will take effect by 5 p.m. Monday, March 16, Beshear announced.
Carryout and delivery food orders will continue.
“It’s not lost on me that most of these are small businesses,” Beshear said during a news conference. “There are people who have spent sweat equity and maybe even life savings to open your business; I realize the impact it’s going to have but we have to take the steps necessary to protect our people.”
Maryland announced its order to close movie theaters, restaurants, bars and gyms late Monday morning. The closure would begin at 5 p.m. Monday.
Essential businesses − including supermarkets and gas stations − will be able to stay open after 8 p.m. Monday.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that he would restrict, along with New Jersey and Connecticut, any gatherings of more than 50 people in addition to the ban on dine-in at restaurants and bars. The ban will begin at 8 p.m. Monday.
The steps mark the latest escalation of efforts to keep people apart in metropolitan areas in hopes of limiting the spread of the virus, and in the case of New York, Connecticut and New Jersey, coordinating a regional response in the face of what the states’ Democratic governors called lagging federal action.
“It’s chaos. I think it actually feeds the feeling that the country’s out of control. There is no clear direction, there is no clear path,” Cuomo said during a joint conference call with the other governors.
Illinois, Ohio, Massachusetts and Washington state also are among places that have ordered bars to close and restaurants to stop dine-in service.
On Monday, Gov. Eric Holcomb announced his plans to close business to in-person patrons at Indiana’s nightclubs, bars and restaurants through the end of March.
In Rhode Island, all dine-in food and beverage service will temporarily shut down, according to news station WPRI.
In her daily coronavirus briefing Monday morning, Gov. Gina Raimondo announced she plans to sign an executive order to halt dine-in service at restaurants, coffee shops and other businesses until Monday, March 30.
“This is a serious step because this is a serious crisis,” she said.
Michigan opted to close the doors to bars and restaurants earlier than most states Monday. According to the Detroit Free Press, Michigan bars and restaurants will be ordered to close starting at 3 p.m. Monday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s spokesperson Tiffany Brown told the newspaper.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel issued the following statement in support of Whitmer’s executive order calling for a temporary shutdown of dine-in service at food and beverage establishments.
"My thoughts today are with the workers and businesses in our food and hospitality industries," said Nessel. "It is heartbreaking that an industry built on service to others must be shut down to help protect and keep safe the families they call their customers and friends. In an effort to help them through this difficult and unexpected shutdown, I am asking our partners in the state and federal legislature to look for ways to help alleviate the financial impact of this shutdown."
The states that opted for the shuttering of businesses had thousands of reports of coronavirus in many of their communities.
For most people, the virus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.
Most people recover. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.