As COVID cases continue to rise across the U.S., several states have increased dining rooms restrictions in order to curb the spread.
Washington, Oregon, Michigan, and New Mexico, each decided to shut down indoor dining in recent days. In late October, Illinois began closing dining rooms in most of the state, including Chicago. In addition, San Francisco, which opened dining rooms at 25 percent on September 30, re-closed indoor dining.
More than 11 million in the U.S. have been diagnosed with COVID, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. More than 246,000 have died from the virus. The COVID Tracking Project said more than 170,000 new cases were reported on Friday, a record high for the U.S.
On Monday, Moderna reported that its COVID vaccine was 94.5 percent effective in phase 3 trials. The news comes after Pfizer announced its phase 3 trials have seen 90 percent effectiveness.
Last week, President-Elect Joe Biden revealed his COVID task force in preparation for when he takes office in January.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said a smooth transition to Biden’s term would aid in the future distribution of the vaccine, but Biden’s team has not been able to access the current administration thus far.
“The vaccines are effective. We want to get it approved as quickly as we possibly can. We want to get doses to people starting in December, and then we want to really get the ball rolling as we get into January, February and March,” Fauci said on NBC’s TODAY show. “We want a smooth process with that and the way you do that is by essentially having the two groups speak to each other and exchange information.”
Washington is instituting its restrictions for four weeks, starting Wednesday. Outdoor dining is allowed, but only five people per table. In New Mexico, dining rooms will be closed for two weeks beginning Monday; only off-premises will be allowed.
“This spike puts us in a more dangerous position as we were in March,” Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said during a press conference on Sunday. “And it means, unfortunately, the time has come to reinstate restrictions on activities statewide to preserve the public’s well-being, and to save lives. These were very difficult decisions that have very real consequences to people’s livelihoods. I recognize that and don’t take those impacts lightly, but we must act now and act quickly to slow the spread of this disease.”
Oregon will start its two-week restriction on Wednesday and limit restaurants to takeout and delivery only. Michigan will start a three-week closure of dining rooms on Wednesday, but outdoor dining will be available.
“In the spring, we listened to public health experts, stomped the curve, and saved thousands of lives together. Now, we must channel that same energy and join forces again to protect our families, frontline workers and small businesses,” said Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in a statement. “Right now, there are thousands of cases a day and hundreds of deaths a week in Michigan, and the number is growing. If we don’t act now, thousands more will die, and our hospitals will continue to be overwhelmed. We can get through this together by listening to health experts once again and taking action right now to slow the spread of this deadly virus.”
Other areas have passed down tighter restrictions in the form of curfews. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced November 11 that State Liquor Authority-licensed restaurants and bars must set a 10 p.m. curfew. A similar curfew is occurring in Minnesota, where 50 percent capacity is still allowed. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is prohibiting restaurants and bars from selling alcohol past 10 p.m.