Bars and restaurants to close at 11 p.m. to battle COVID

by Jordan Green

Turn out the lights. The party’s over.

Governor Kevin Stitt on Monday ordered the state’s bars and restaurants to close no later than 11 p.m. nightly in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

In an executive order announced that morning, Stitt ordered establishments to shut down in-person dining by 11 p.m. each night. He also said restaurants and bars will be required to keep tables at least 6 six feet apart from one another unless the tables are separated by sanitary dividers.

Those who visit their favorite saloons after 11 p.m.? They’ll be left with nothing but a cup of loneliness.

"These aren’t our first actions, and they won’t be our last," Stitt said in a news release. "Based on the data in our state – specifically the rise in hospitalizations – now is the time to do more. Each one of us has a role to play in this fight. I need every Oklahoman to think about what they can do to slow the spread."

Stitt’s curfew rules do not apply to drive-through service and curbside pickup service at restaurants.

Oklahoma Restaurant Association CEO Jim Hopper and Chairman Kurt Fleischfresser said they support the governor’s new rules.

“We appreciate the leadership of Governor Stitt during these challenging times and the efforts being made to slow the spread of COVID-19,” the two said in a joint statement. “The Oklahoma Restaurant Association and its members want to do our part and at the same time allow our industry to operate safely to protect the health of our employees and customers. We are all in this together, and our industry is ready to do its part.”

Stitt’s order requires all of the State of Oklahoma’s 33,000 employees to wear masks, and all visitors to state-owned buildings will be required to mask-up as well.

"The governor and I have said countless times to wear a mask, watch your distance and wash your hands, and it is critical that you do," Oklahoma Commissioner of Health Dr. Lance Frye said. "As we look ahead to Thanksgiving, please don’t forget to practice these safety measures. Small things can make a difference, and Oklahomans are encouraged to be mindful of how you gather this holiday season to ensure the safety of your loved ones and neighbors."

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