Washington, DC, orders restaurant and bar closures to limit coronavirus spread

(CNN) — Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser ordered all restaurants, bars, and clubs in the nation’s capital to effectively close by 10 p.m. ET Monday in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. Take-out and delivery is still allowed.

The suspension — which also orders health clubs, spas, massage parlors and theaters to close by Tuesday — is set to last until April 1.

“There is, of course, a lot more that we have to learn about COVID-19, but one thing that we know is that social distancing can mitigate the spread of the virus,” Bowser said at a press conference Monday. “At the moment, social distancing is our main tool for flattening the curve.”

The new restrictions in Washington follow similar orders being carried out by state and local governments across the country in an effort to contain the virus, which has infected more than 4,000 people and killed at least 70 in the United States, according to health officials.

New York and Las Vegas both announced major closures of their entertainment industries on Sunday, with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio temporarily closing restaurants, nightclubs and concert venues.

Illinois, Ohio, Massachusetts, Washington state and Pennsylvania have all issued similar orders to protect citizens during the coronavirus pandemic.

On a national level, the White House has advised all Americans to avoid groups of more than 10 and urged older people to stay at home altogether.

The new guidance, which President Donald Trump announced from the White House in an uncharacteristically sober press conference, reflected the heightened gravity of the situation facing the country as more and more people become infected.

“If everyone makes this change or these critical changes and sacrifices now, we will rally together as one nation and we will defeat the virus and we’re going to have a big celebration all together,” Trump said at the White House.

Bowser, who has previously called on the federal government to “step it up” in response to the pandemic, added Monday that “when we slow the spread of COVID, we protect our hospital and healthcare facilities from getting overwhelmed.”

“We are able to keep more hospital beds open and make better use of limited resources,” she said.


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