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Bars, restaurants react to dine-in ban

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Here are the latest developments of COVID-19 on March 17, 2020.

There are now 15 cases of COVID-19 in Missouri, and a fourth case was confirmed here in Springfield.

We know its a person who came into contact with a foreign traveler.

But there are still no community spread cases yet.

At the Springfield-Greene County Health Department conference, the gathering of 10 people or more was banned; this excludes educational facilities as well as day-care facilities and businesses.

The most significant change here is going to hit restaurants hard.

No dine-in is allowed at any bars, restaurants, or other recreational spots starting at midnight tonight until April 1.

This is forcing restaurants only to do delivery, carryout, and drive-thru options.

For Finnegan’s Wake Irish Pub, this is a St. Patrick’s day unlike any other. Owner Anne Baker says they had already cut their capacity down to 40. At midnight tonight, it’s the last call for a couple of weeks.

“Being dine-out or carryout or delivery only isn’t really feasible for us here, so being closed for the two weeks is going to be – it’s going to hurt us a little bit,” Baker said. “Making sure our staff is being taken care of – that’s our biggest concern at this moment, but we want to follow everything that is being said by the CDC.”

A place better known for their food, Mexican Villa general manager Melissa Lewis says she came in today to calm nerves after the announcement that rocks the food industry across town.

“That’s obviously going to cut a lot of jobs, but we are still working on doing curbside service,” Lewis said. “We are working on a way to try to do delivery as well. We are trying to keep as many people employed as possible, that’s why we’re working on this. Mexican Villa has been in business – next year will be – 70 years, and we’ve never done a delivery.”

Finnegans Wake is looking at a way to help their employees through the National Bartenders Guild that has a Springfield chapter.

People can apply to receive financial help in this tough time. Restaurants right now just hoping this dine-in ban ends on schedule and that business booms afterward.

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