From Staff Reports
With COVID-19 cases rising sharply locally, the Orange County Commissioners will start requiring restaurants to be closed for the onsite consumption of food and beverages from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. They also will not be allowed to serve alcohol after 10 p.m.
The new restrictions begin at 5 p.m. Friday. The amended emergency order also requires food-service establishments to keep customers from sitting or standing at bars and prohibits all outdoor activities, gatherings or events of more than 25 people. Worship, religious and spiritual gatherings, funeral ceremonies, wedding ceremonies, and gatherings for health and safety will be exempt.
“Cases in Orange County have tripled since Memorial Day,” said Penny Rich, chair of the Orange County Board of Commissioners. “These additional measures will help protect our community by reducing group settings where the virus can easily spread. We must be vigilant in practicing physical distancing and wearing masks. It is more important than ever that we look out for each other.
The new order also directs businesses to keep patrons from touching shared surfaces, such as pool tables, dart boards and other game equipment, according to a news release from the county.
Restaurants will still be able to offer takeout, delivery and drive-through food orders after 10 p.m. but they also cannot provide offsite table service for the consumption of food and beverages between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
According to the most recent data from the county’s health department, Orange has had a cumulative total of 928 cases of COVID-19, along with 43 deaths. That is a steep increase over the last several weeks.