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Coronavirus prompts Dallas and Houston to close bars and clubs, make restaurants takeout only

Dallas skyline
Lakana file
A view of the Dallas city skyline at night.

DALLAS, Texas — Nightlife in two of America's largest cities is shut down for at least the next week in an aggressive attempt to slow the spread of the new coronavirus, the mayors of Dallas and Houston announced.

The mayor of Dallas issued an emergency order Monday closing bars and entertainment venues, limiting the operation of restaurants and prohibiting gatherings of more than 50 people.

Mayor Eric Johnson said at a news conference that all bars, nightclubs, theaters, gyms and other “entertainment or amusement venues” must close for seven days. The City Council can vote to extend that.

The order, which takes effect Tuesday, will prohibit people from dining in restaurants but allow city eateries to continue offering drive-thru and delivery service.

Houston also closed bars and clubs while restricting restaurant operations.

The city said Houston restaurants will be limited to takeout for 15 days. Officials said the decision was driven, in part, by still seeing large crowds of people this past weekend in the nation’s fourth-largest city.

Like Dallas, the new Houston rules also go into effect Tuesday.

The regulations are a massive blow to local businesses that depend heavily on in-person patronage.

"As of right now, Dallas has the most aggressive rules of all the major cities in Texas for minimizing and slowing the spread of COVID-19," Johnson said at a press conference, minutes before Houston leaders announced similar plans.

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