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Growing Cases of COVID-19 Lead California and Pennsylvania Counties to Again Close Bars

Plus, the UN says the pandemic has pushed millions into hunger, and more news to start your day

Red sign hung in a window that says “Closed Again” Shutterstock
Jaya Saxena is a Correspondent at, and the series editor of Best American Food Writing. She explores wide ranging topics like labor, identity, and food culture.

The reclosures come after COVID-19 cases continue to spike

Last week, officials in Texas, Florida, and Idaho were the first to roll back business allowances in the face of rising cases of COVID-19. Bars were no longer allowed to operate for walk-in service, and in Texas, restaurants had to reduce indoor dining capacity from 75 percent to 50 percent. Now, California and Pennsylvania are following suit.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered nightlife and bars to close in seven counties, and recommended that eight other counties do so, as well. “Californians must remain vigilant against this virus,” he said in a statement. “COVID-19 is still circulating in California, and in some parts of the state, growing stronger. That’s why it is critical we take this step to limit the spread of the virus in the counties that are seeing the biggest increases.”

Also, health officials in Pittsburgh and surrounding Allegheny County in Pennsylvania ordered all bars closed for on-site consumption, restricting operations once again to take-out drinks and cocktails. As Eater’s Nick Mancall-Bitel wrote, basically everything to love about bars, especially dive bars, is what makes them such hotbeds for the spread of disease: “Dives are cherished for their dark interiors, raucous atmospheres, and egalitarian walk-in only service, all aspects that make it hard for dives to accommodate social distancing.” In many of these states and counties, activities like outdoor dining, personal care services, and moderately-sized gatherings are still permissible.

And in other news...

  • Inmates at Washington State Penitentiary are going on a partial food strike to protest poor COVID-19 safety practices. [The Daily Chronicle]
  • The pandemic might encourage the spread of ghost kitchens. [New Yorker]
  • The Momofuku Group issued a coronavirus safety guide. [NRN]
  • Schools don’t have enough money to continue meal programs, which has led to a renewed call for Universal Free Lunch. [Civil Eats]
  • Over 60,000 lbs. of chicken nuggets are being recalled. [CNN]
  • According to the UN World Food Program, the pandemic has pushed millions into hunger. “The number of hungry people in the countries where it operates could increase to 270 million before the end of 2020.” [ABC]
  • Wendy’s is heading to the UK. [Eater London]