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Despite pleas for social distancing, Minnesotans are still crowding into bars

There are calls for city and state leaders to impose tougher lockdowns.

People across the country are ignoring pleas to avoid crowds amid the coronavirus pandemic, and those in Minnesota are no exception. 

On Saturday night — just a day after President Donald Trump declared a national emergency — pictures of packed Twin Cities bars appeared on social media, with many questioning why people were out celebrating St. Patrick's Day and not practicing social distancing. 

"Right now, myself personally, I wouldn't go to a restaurant," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on Sunday.

Twitter users called out individual bars, including Patrick McGovern's in St. Paul and Psycho Suzi's in Minneapolis, with one saying "people will die due to this negligent behavior."

"Couldn't even be bothered to close for a weekend to help keep our community safe," another said. 

There have also been appeals to political leaders, including Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and Gov. Tim Walz, to take action and enforce social distancing:

Similar scenes played out across the country, with reports of packed bars and restaurants in major cities like Chicago and New York:

Meanwhile, in a bizarre twist, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt took serious criticism across social media for posting a picture of himself dining out with his family in a now-deleted tweet:

Amid the controversy over the business-as-usual approach to social activities, an Associated Press report cited Italian officials as blaming "irresponsible behavior by many citizens" for that country's devastating COVID-19 outbreak:

Italy's coronavirus death toll has now surpassed 1,400 cases, with more than 21,000 cases overall. 

On Friday, Gov. Walz declared a peacetime emergency in Minnesota to stop the spread of coronavirus, with a recommendation that gatherings of 250 people or more be canceled or pushed back.

For tips on how to successfully practice social distancing, check out this guide from the Atlantic or the CDC's coronavirus website. 

Minnesota now has 21 confirmed cases of the virus. 

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