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Illinois, neighboring states close all bars, restaurant dining rooms over coronavirus

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SPRINGFIELD — Illinois and the neighboring states of Michigan, Indiana and Kentucky are closing bars and restaurant dining rooms because of coronavirus.

According to CBS 2 Chicago, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said all restaurants and bars in Illinois will be closed effective at the end of the business day, continuing through March 30, due to the coronavirus pandemic. He said the state was looking at ways for kitchens to remain open so delivery could continue. Drive-thru and curbside pick-up are also still allowed.

The TV station said the announcement came just after Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said that the city would require bars and liquor establishments to have less than half their regular maximum capacity of customers and a maximum of 100 people. The announcement came after bars were packed with people for St. Patrick’s Day.

Across the Ohio River, Kentucky is also closing bars and restaurant dining rooms, effective at 5 p.m. on Monday. The Louisville Courier-Journal reported that carryout and delivery can still be done.

“It’s not lost on me that most of these are small businesses,” Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said, according to the Courier-Journal. “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.”

On Monday morning, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb said bars, nightclubs and restaurants are required to close for in-person dining. Fox 59 in Indianapolis reported that delivery and carryout were also still allowed.

And in Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has ordered almost all public businesses, ranging from bars to casinos to libraries, to close until March 30, effective as of 3 p.m. Monday. Grand Rapids NBC affiliate WOOD-TV reported that carryout and delivery is still allowed.

The TV station also reported that the order doesn’t apply to the following locations: office buildings, grocery stores, markets, food pantries, pharmacies, drug stores, health care facilities, residential care facilities, congregate care facilities, juvenile justice facilities, providers of medical equipment and supplies, warehouse and distribution centers and industrial and manufacturing facilities.

As of Monday at noon, 13 states have closed bars, restaurants and similar businesses open to the public. Missouri, Iowa and Wisconsin have not announced any measures as of press time.

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