By MADASYN LEE
Trib Total Media
Allegheny County officials on Sunday ordered all bars and restaurants in Allegheny County to halt on-premises alcohol consumption in response to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases.
Allegheny County Health Department Director Dr. Debra Bogen issued the order through her authority under the Pennsylvania Disease Prevention and Control Law. It goes into effect at 5 p.m. Tuesday. Restaurants and bars will still be able to offer to-go alcohol sales.
“We’ve all got to continue to be vigilant or this thing could get out of control very quickly,” Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said.
The new order comes among a recent surge in new COVID-19 cases in Allegheny County, the majority being among younger people. On Sunday, the county reported 96 new cases, its largest single-day coronavirus case jump since the virus was first reported in the county on March 14.
The county reported 90 new cases Saturday, 61 on Friday, 37 on Thursday and 45 on both Monday and Wednesday. Tuesday was an outlier with only 19 new cases.
Bogen said there has been community-spread of the virus among people who have congregated at bars in Pittsburgh’s South Side and Oakland neighborhoods and have traveled to out-of-state hotspots like Florida, Texas and the beaches along the Carolina coast.
The situation also stems from the fact people lowered their guard after the state eased lockdown restrictions.
“We did recommend lots of things, but I’m not sure that guidance was always followed. We had been reinforcing physical distancing, and yet you drive by bars and there are people crowded together,” Bogen said. “I think had we followed the green guidance carefully, we might not be in this situation.”
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