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Bars near WVU can open Tuesday

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Jim Justice announced Friday that bars around West Virginia University in Morgantown can reopen next Tuesday, a month after images of maskless college students packing bars led them to be shut down.

Police and state alcohol regulators will step up enforcement in the college town, Justice said at a coronavirus press briefing. The Republican governor abruptly ordered Monongalia County bars to close indefinitely on Sept. 2 — just two days after allowing them to reopen — as many patrons lined up without social distancing.

The owners of 12 restaurants and bars sued the governor and local officials in Morgantown last month in federal court over the shutdown.


“Bars that don’t enforce these guidelines, where we see a bunch of people packed in with no mask wearing … you will be shut down again,” Justice said, adding establishments risk having their licenses suspended.

County officials previously required bars to cut indoor seating occupancy by half, close dance floors and discontinue live performances and entertainment. Restaurants in the county had been able to continue dine-in service without operating their bars. Morgantown city officials did not immediately return a request for comment.

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HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— President Trump credits antibody drug for quick recovery

— Spain declares state of emergency in Madrid to contain surge

— As virus fills French ICUs anew, doctors ask what went wrong

— British government will announce more support for businesses to retain staff in the coming months if they are forced to close because of lockdown restrictions.

— President Donald Trump says he wants to try to hold a campaign rally in Florida on Saturday, despite his recent COVID-19 diagnosis.

— Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

OKLAHOMA CITY — The number of people hospitalized in Oklahoma due to the coronavirus surged to a record one-day high of 749 on Friday, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

The number hospitalized either with the virus or under investigation for infection surpassed the previous high of 738 reported on Wednesday.

The department also reported 1,524 newly confirmed cases of the virus, the second highest daily increase since 1,7,14 new cases were reported on July 21, and 97,088 total cases. There are six additional deaths due to COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, bringing the total to 1,091. There were 13,515 active cases of the virus on Thursday, and 82,482 people have recoverd, according to the health department.

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NATCHEZ, Miss. — A brother and sister in Natchez have both died of the coronavirus, Adams County Coroner James Lee said.

On Friday, Oct. 2, a 73-year-old woman died of the COVID-19 disease caused by the virus, and her 69-year-old brother died two days later, Lee told the Natchez Democrat.

“I’ve seen an increase in COVID deaths in Adams County in the past month and it’s very scary to me,” Lee told the Democrat earlier this week. Lee

New Orleans eases pandemic restrictions on bars

NEW ORLEANS — Starting this weekend, New Orleans bars will be allowed to sell drinks to go and restaurants may operate at 75% indoor capacity instead of 50% since a number of coronavirus indicators have stayed low, Mayor LaToya Cantrell said.

The limit for restaurants and other businesses matches the state limit set weeks ago. If all goes well, New Orleans could match all state reopening levels by Oct. 31, with two more possible groups of changes, Cantrell said Thursday at a livestreamed news conference.

Those will depend on public response “ensuring we are a healthy city not only to live in but to visit,” she said.


Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards let some bars reopen and restaurants and other businesses move to 75% of indoor capacity on Sept. 11. New Orleans, which had shut down bars in July, did not follow suit.

French Quarter and downtown stores cannot sell package liquor outside bars’ state-set hours of 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. because when bars were allowed to reopen earlier, “crowds continued drinking package liquor” after 11 p.m., the mayor said.

Cantrell said the city had closed six businesses as of Wednesday for flouting pandemic restrictions.

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HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— Push to bring coronavirus vaccines to the poor faces trouble

— In Appalachia, people watch COVID-19, race issues from afar

— NFL postpones Steelers-Titans game after more positive tests

— The White House is backing a $400 per week pandemic jobless benefit and possible COVID-19 relief bill with a price tag above $1.5 trillion.

— France’s health minister is threatening to close bars and ban family gatherings, if the rise in virus cases doesn’t improve.

— Americans seeking unemployment benefits declined last week to a still-high 837,000, suggesting the economy is struggling to sustain a tentative recovery from the summer.

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Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky reported 17 more coronavirus-related deaths on Thursday, one of its highest one-day totals as the state combats an escalating outbreak.

The latest deaths included a 29-year-old woman from Clark County who had “significant underlying health conditions,” Gov. Andy Beshear said. Her death marked the first coronavirus-linked fatality of someone in their 20s to be reported in Kentucky, he said.

The 17 deaths were the fifth-highest daily total in Kentucky since the start of the pandemic, he said.

The state also reported 910 new cases of COVID-19, down from the prior two days when daily case counts topped 1,000, the governor said. The spike in cases is hitting rural and urban areas, and Beshear said the state remains on course to set another record for the number of cases in a week.

“When we have a lot of cases, sadly a lot of death follows,” Beshear said at a news conference.

The Democratic governor continued to stress the need to wear masks in public, maintain social distancing and follow other health guidelines to contain

Is there any evidence that closing bars at 10pm will stem the spread of coronavirus?

It seems that every aspect of Covid-19 will be contested. Students of the history of public health politics will be having a strong sense of deja vu: the field is littered with heated debates that in essence are about numbers.



a group of people walking in front of a store: Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA


© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA

Related: Pubs and restaurants urge PM to review 10pm curfew in England

As someone who has worked in the field of tobacco control for some 40 years, I have witnessed many such debates. First, there was the question of how risky smoking was; then the addictive nature of tobacco. There were questions over how much safer low-tar cigarettes were. Then, of course, there was the issue of the harmfulness of passive smoking. Most recently there was the claim that e-cigarettes were 95% less harmful than “normal” cigarettes.

To my mind these tobacco control dramas have had one important thing in common: a failure of some of those involved to use numbers as a way to achieve clarity. Instead vague quantification shapes a narrative. And that is exactly what we are seeing in the evolving arguments about the coronavirus.

A recent act in this pandemic drama centres on the policy of forcing bars and restaurants in England to close at 10pm. The prime minister claimed to have based this new rule on scientific evidence that much of the spread of the virus is taking place in bars late in the evening. He says that this is at least in part due to people having consumed quite a bit of alcohol by this time and so being less likely to respect social distancing rules.

This raises an important question. Does the government have a concrete estimate of the likely number of infections, hospitalisations and deaths averted by closing bars at 10pm? If so, what is the margin of error and what is the science on which it is based? Speaking personally I cannot recall the behavioural science subgroup of Sage – of which I am a participant – ever being asked about this. On a matter of such importance I would have expected advice to be sought, because the policy depends very largely on how people behave.



a crowd of people standing in front of a store: ‘Another important number is the potential loss of income for venues’: a street in Soho, central London, on 24 September.


© Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA
‘Another important number is the potential loss of income for venues’: a street in Soho, central London, on 24 September.

If behavioural scientists had been asked to provide input into an estimate of the impact of the 10pm bar closures, one source of available evidence would be the extent to which allowing bars to remain open later at night in England and Wales back in 2005 made any difference to alcohol consumption or binge drinking. This would provide at least some evidence as to what might happen if one were to now restrict licensing hours.

The answer appears to be that the impact was minimal. This may be for reasons that are not particularly informative in the current scenario. But it points to the possibility that restricting licensing hours would have a limited

Mayor Lori Lightfoot Easing COVID Restrictions On Bars, Restaurants, Fitness Centers, Personal Services

CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago restaurants will soon be able to serve more people indoors, and bars that don’t serve food will soon be able to resume service inside under loosened COVID-19 restrictions announced by Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Monday.

The city also is easing restrictions for health and fitness clubs and for personal services.

“Being able to open further today is just one small step that we’re taking based on what we’re seeing in the data,” Lightfoot said. “It also means that difficult decisions and sacrifices that we’ve all had to make are moving us slowly but surely forward.”

The mayor said the move comes after the city has seen improving COVID-19 data over the past month, including lower rates of infection and fewer emergency room visits.

“It was because of the citywide cooperation and collaboration that Chicago never saw a huge surge in cases once we started to gently reopen,” Lightfoot said. “All the modeling predicted that we would see a surge. The question was only how large, and luckily because of all the hard work and sacrifice of so many, including individual residents, that fate didn’t come to us.”

The new rules will go into effect on Thursday when indoor capacity at restaurants will be increased from 25% to 40%, with a maximum of 50 people per room and six people per table.

Bars that serve alcohol but not food will be limited to 25% capacity indoors or a maximum of 50 people, whichever is lower. Customers can stay no longer than two hours and cannot order at the bar, only at tables. Bars that don’t serve food themselves also must partner with a restaurant or other establishment to make food available to customers at all times through delivery services.

Restaurants and bars that serve alcohol also will be able to stay open until 1:30 a.m. but must stop serving booze at 1 a.m. Liquor stores must still halt alcohol sales at 9 p.m.

Customers at bars and restaurants must continue to wear masks while seated, unless eating or drinking. That means they must wear masks whenever interacting when servers or staff, including when placing orders, when their food or drinks are delivered, and when they’re paying their checks.

“I know that t his requirement is a pain in the butt. Let’s just be blunt about it, but it’s absolutely necessary to protect you and protect other diners, and most importantly protect the workers who are coming to your table,” Lightfoot said.

In addition to loosening restrictions for bars and restaurants, capacity for health and fitness centers, personal services, and non-essential retail businesses also will increase from 25% to 40%. Maximum group sizes