Local Health Leaders Recommend Closing Bars, Indoor Dining

Thursday, July 16th 2020, 12:23 pm
By: News 9


Story clarification: At the top of an earlier version of this story and at the beginning of the video that was attached, we reported that the Oklahoma City-County Health Department recommended closing bars and restaurants. That was not correct. It should have been "indoor dining" instead of restaurants.

With a continued rise in COVID-19 cases, doctors with the Oklahoma City-County Health Department are recommending the city shut down indoor dining at restaurants and bars.

The health department says through contract tracing, it’s discovered restaurants and bars combined are the top spreaders of COVID-19. In fact, more than 30% of the cases come from those locations.

On Thursday, The Oklahoma City Council heard from the health department who say research shows wearing masks is 70% effective to reducing the spread of COVID-19, protecting the person wearing the mask, and anyone near them. 

With the surge of cases and a vaccine not expected until 2021, the City Council discussed other health department recommendations to reduce future spread. Examples of this include the Oklahoma City mask mandate the council will vote on Friday, limiting indoor public gathering to 25 or less, encouraging the vulnerable population to stay at home and the possible closure of bars and indoor dining areas.

The city council also spoke about the shortage of medical providers and what can be done, with the fear of an increased surge causing over-exhaustion and burnout.

“We would like to see temporary or intermittent closing of bars and indoor dining, and we would monitor that on an ongoing basis as we saw that the surge and the number of cases were declining. And also as we saw that the hospitals were in good shape,” said Dr. Patrick McGough.

The city-county health department says if we don’t do anything to stop the surge, we can expect 60% of the population of OKC to get the virus until we have herd immunity.

They also said we can expect the loss of 3,000 to 12,000 lives.