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1A Across America: The Spread Of COVID-19 In Bars And Restaurants

Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered bars to be closed by noon on June 26 and for restaurants to be reduced to 50 percent occupancy. Coronavirus cases in Texas have spiked in recent weeks after being one of the first states to begin reopening.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered bars to be closed by noon on June 26 and for restaurants to be reduced to 50 percent occupancy. Coronavirus cases in Texas have spiked in recent weeks after being one of the first states to begin reopening.

It’s been a while since most Americans could go out and grab a drink with a friend. As states began to reopen at the beginning of the month, some patrons flooded back to their favorite watering hole.

But Eater Detroit reports that over 50 cases of COVID-19 were traced to an East Lansing, Michigan bar. And several other states, including Florida and Texas, are pausing their reopening plans, citing virus transmission.

Why is it so easy to transmit the virus in bars and restaurants?

From The New York Times:

Every bar is different, but many bars are housed in dark, narrow, indoor spaces with no windows and little room to move around. Unlike restaurants, which can space tables far apart, bars typically have fixed bar stool seating along the bar and a layout that forces people to gather closely in clusters.

Dr. Adaora A. Adimora, professor of medicine and epidemiology at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill. “They usually want to sit fairly close to each other so they can have intimate conversations. Most people are not going to want to sit six feet apart and yell.”

We talk with a reporter from Michigan Public Radio about what governors are doing around the country to curb America’s new drinking problem.

1A Across America  is funded through a grant from The Corporation for Public Broadcasting. CPB is a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967 that is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting.

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