County health order to close bars for 2 weeks, starting Friday

photo by: Nick Krug/Journal-World File Photo

In this file photo from Dec. 7, 2017, The Jayhawk Cafe — aka The Hawk — sits at the corner of 13th and Ohio streets.

Updated at 4:35 p.m. Wednesday

Just before the Fourth of July holiday, Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health has announced a health order to close bars and nightclubs for two weeks, beginning Friday, in light of the COVID-19 crisis.

The official order will be issued Thursday by Douglas County’s health officer, Dr. Thomas Marcellino.

“We have seen a rise of cases among younger adults, and these cases are now being linked to higher-risk older adults in our community. We have to slow down the spread of the coronavirus in Douglas County to prevent a surge of cases,” Marcellino said in a Wednesday press release. “It is our hope that taking these measures now will allow us to slow the spread and put us into a stronger position as we approach the school season.”

In the release, Marcellino said it was clear that bars were a high-risk environment for the spread of COVID-19.

Last week, the Journal-World reported that an outbreak of COVID-19 had been confirmed at The Jayhawk Cafe, aka The Hawk, 1340 Ohio St.

“Locally, we have seen a surge of cases linked to bars,” Marcellino said in the release. “Infectious disease and public health experts around the country are recommending the closure of bars.”

Bars will still be able to operate curbside and carryout services. Since April 22, an executive order from Gov. Laura Kelly has enabled bars to serve alcoholic drinks in to-go containers for patrons to drink once they have returned home.

Douglas County has reported 190 cases of COVID-19 as of 3 p.m. Wednesday, an increase of 31 cases since Monday.

In Douglas County, 98 out of the 190 people with confirmed cases of COVID-19 have recovered.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s online map noted that 6,311 Douglas County residents had been tested for the disease so far. The county’s testing rate per 1,000 people was 51.6.

One patient at Lawrence’s hospital had COVID-19 on Wednesday.


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