Coronavirus

Dallas Restaurants Must Close for In-House Dining; Bars Ordered to Close

Restaurants can only serve food via drive-thru, delivery or takeout for at least seven days as of 11:59 p.m. March 16.
Restaurants can only serve food via drive-thru, delivery or takeout for at least seven days as of 11:59 p.m. March 16. Kathy Tran
click to enlarge Restaurants can only serve food via drive-thru, delivery or takeout for at least seven days as of 11:59 p.m. March 16. - KATHY TRAN
Restaurants can only serve food via drive-thru, delivery or takeout for at least seven days as of 11:59 p.m. March 16.
Kathy Tran
Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson took to the lectern Monday afternoon, referencing the most recent person-to-person transmission of COVID-19, or the coronavirus, in Dallas County.

With that, as of 11:59 p.m. Monday, community gatherings are restricted to no more than 50 people.

And, the city is "ordering the closing of all bars, lounges, taverns, night clubs, gyms, and health clubs, theaters and entertainment and music venues," Johnson said. "Restaurants, for now, may remain open for drive-thru, delivery and takeout service."

Dine-in service will be prohibited, he said.

"Your city government is taking the steps that it deems necessary to flatten the curve of this global pandemic and to save lives," Johnson said. "And we're going to get through this because the people of Dallas are strong."

Even with takeout and delivery, our restaurants are going to take a hit — Johnson mentioned the city is aware of how this will affect small businesses.

City Council will meet Wednesday and discuss more on this, including steps to mitigate the widespread economic damages.

"The closures, we know will have an impact on our local economy," Johnson said. "We want to be mindful of that and think of every possible way to preserve our local economy and our people's way of life. ... In the short term we're focused on the public health."

Just minutes after city officials announced their restrictions, Dallas County officials announced an identical order affecting businesses countywide.

As for how long this goes: the immediate call is for seven days. Tristan Hallman, chief of policy and communications in the mayor's office, said Monday that the council can vote Wednesday to extend the declaration or let it expire.
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Taylor Adams has written about the restaurant industry for the Dallas Observer since 2016. Now the Observer's food editor, she attended Southern Methodist University before covering local news at The Dallas Morning News.