Douglas County to close bars after spike in COVID-19 cases

Tracking Coronavirus

LAWRENCE, Kan. — Bars in Douglas County are scheduled to close this week due to a spike in COVID-19 cases, the health department announced Wednesday.

Officials with Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health said bars will close for two weeks beginning Friday, July 3.

The closures come after an increase in COVID-19 cases, both in Douglas County and statewide.

RELATED: Douglas County joins others, making face masks mandatory in public starting July

Douglas County reported 35 new cases between Friday, June 26 and Monday, June 29. Statewide, Kansas reported an increase of 547 confirmed cases since Monday, June 29.

Dr. Thomas Marcellino, Health Officer for Douglas County said he’s concerned by the spread of COVID-19, particularly among younger adults.

“We have seen a rise of cases among younger adults, and these cases are now being linked to
higher-risk older adults in our community. We have to slow down the spread of the coronavirus in
Douglas County to prevent a surge of cases. It is our hope that taking these measures now will allow us to slow the spread and put us into a stronger position as we approach the school season.”

Marcellino said the county would issue an official health order on Thursday, July 2, which will include the local bar closing decision.

RELATED: Douglas County officials say several COVID-19 cases tied to Lawrence bar

The order will require bars and nightclubs to close beginning Friday, excluding curbside and carryout services.

“Across the country and here locally, COVID-19 cases are climbing. It is clear that bars are a high risk environment for the spread of COVID-19,” Marcellino said.

Health officials in the county are still investigating an outbreak linked to a bar in Lawrence.

On June 26, Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health officials announced that several people who tested positive for COVID-19 were present at The Hawk, 1340 Ohio Street on the evenings of Friday, June 19 or Saturday, June 20.

Anyone who was at the bar at that time is asked to monitor themselves for COVID-19 symptoms.

Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health’s coronavirus hotline is 785-856-4343.

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