Coronavirus: Minneapolis to close access to bars, restaurants starting Tuesday

A number of Twin Cities bars have already shuttered.
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Dine-in service will no longer be allowed at all Minnesota bars and restaurants. Curbside pick-up, delivery and drive-thru orders will still be allowed. The latest on the situation here

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Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has enacted a local state of emergency that will limit access to the city's bars and restaurants.

The mayor says that food establishments will only be able to provide takeout, delivery and drive-thru services starting noon on Tuesday.

The city will also no longer issue permits for gatherings of 50 or more people, though since then President Trump has said the government advises against gatherings of 10 or more people.

While it's not known in which cities confirmed COVID-19 cases are located, Hennepin County has the most cases out of any county in the state.

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Discussions are ongoing between health officials and the governor's office about the possible closure of Minnesota's bars and restaurants in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

States including New York, Ohio, Illinois and California have already taken the step of ordering the shutdown of bars and restaurants amid efforts to limit the amount of social gatherings.

Minnesota has not followed suit yet, but Gov. Tim Walz said on Sunday this "may become an option" for the state.

On Monday, the director of Minnesota Department of Health's infectious disease department Kris Ehresmann had this to say.

"We are in discussion with the governor's office on that," she said. "That is something we are having conversations about."

Ehresmann didn't elaborate further, but the decision to shut down bars and restaurants has been seen in numerous countries and states with more established coronavirus numbers.

Minnesota now has 54 confirmed cases of COVID-19, a rise of 19 since Sunday.

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On Sunday, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) updated its guidance to start advising the postponement of events where more than 50 people are gathering.

It follows a weekend in which several bars and restaurants across the Twin Cities were still packed with people despite the recommendation from health officials that people stay home, or to practice social distancing in the event they do go out.

A number of bars and restaurants in the Twin Cities are not waiting for the state to impose a shutdown. Among those announcing their closure are The Bachelor Farmer in the Minneapolis' North Loop, all Punch Pizza locations, and Hot Indian's three locations. 

Ehresmann said that smaller events, with fewer than 50 people, should not be held unless it's possible for social distancing, ie. six feet between people.

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