Ohio, Illinois Closing All Restaurants and Bars Amid Coronavirus Pandemic: 'We Can't Have People Congregating and Seated'

Ohio and Illinois on Sunday announced the closure of all restaurants and bars amid the coronavirus pandemic, also known as COVID-19, as the virus continues to spread across the U.S.

"We will be issuing an order closing all bars and restaurants in #Ohio beginning at 9:00 tonight," Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said in a tweet Sunday afternoon. In a follow-up post, he clarified that "establishments can stay open for carry-out and delivery."

"What we can't have is people congregating and seated," DeWine continued. "I'm aware that this will impact many, many good workers. I can't tell you how sorry I am, but we will work to mitigate the suffering. It is our goal for everyone to get through this."

"Every day we delay, more people will die," he added. "If we do not act and get some distance between people, our healthcare system in Ohio will not hold up. The loss won't only be those impacted by COVID19, but the danger is also to everyone else who needs hospital care for other issues."

Illinois Governor Jay Robert Pritzker issued the same directive Sunday that will come into effect at the end of Monday. "I am ordering all bars and restaurants in the state of Illinois to close to the public as of the close of business Monday night, March 16 through March 30," he said at a press conference.

Pritzker said officials are "working with restaurant owners and food delivery services across the state to see if restaurants can safely keep their kitchens open, so the restaurants can continue food delivery to people at their homes," according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Newsweek reached out to Pritzker and DeWine's offices for additional information.

DeWine and Pritzker's announcements came shortly after Virginia Governor Ralph Northam banned all public gatherings with more than 100 people across the state after 45 people had been confirmed to have contracted the virus.

On Sunday morning, the U.S. confirmed more than 2,700 coronavirus cases, with at least 54 deaths nationwide. Concerns among citizens have continued to grow this weekend over the lack of adequate testing across the country, as well as how hospitals and airports in America will cope with the escalating pandemic.

President Donald Trump announced a travel ban Wednesday on countries in the European Schengen zone that came into effect on Friday. The ban was extended to include Ireland and the United Kingdom, which will start being implemented on Tuesday. American citizens are still allowed to come home from those areas but will face screening upon arrival.

People wearing masks are seen as the coronavirus continues to spread across the United States on March 14, 2020 in New York City. Jamie McCarthy/Getty
Ohio, Illinois Closing All Restaurants and Bars Amid Coronavirus Pandemic: 'We Can't Have People Congregating and Seated' | U.S.