PITTSBURG, Kan. — The Crawford County Board of Health issued a new public health order Friday, which went into effect at noon, implementing new restrictions on bars and restaurants but allowing them to continue operating.
The order, which includes a provision for fines of up to $100 for each violation, was issued in response to the recent outbreak of COVID-19 cases that officials have linked to off-campus activities of Pittsburg State University students returning to school, such as going to parties and bars.
County officials have identified 122 new positive coronavirus cases just in the past week, Crawford County Deputy Public Health Officer Linda Bean said Friday.
As of Friday morning there were 160 county residents in isolation after testing positive for COVID-19 and 550 of their close contacts in quarantine, according to Bean. PSU has 85 positive cases in isolation. While there is some overlap between PSU cases and county residents, PSU students who are not permanent county residents are not counted as Crawford County cases.
New restrictions include a requirement that bars and restaurants stop serving at midnight and close by 12:30 a.m. Drive-through, curbside, and delivery service can continue past midnight.
The order prohibits eating or drinking while standing at bars, and serving customers who are standing at bars, although officials clarified at Friday’s county commission meeting that customers are allowed to be seated at bars as long as they comply with other requirements.
When seated at a restaurant or bar, customers are not required to wear masks, but should wear them when they enter the business and also put them on if they get up from their seat, Bean said Friday. Customers who go to a restaurant or bar together can be seated together but must be distanced six feet apart from other customers.
It is “strongly recommended” in the order that employers screen all employees before each shift. Screening could include asking questions about symptoms and travel or checking temperatures. The order also requires dance floors to be closed.
This week Crawford County health officials also directed all long-term care facilities in the county to return to "phase red," or the most restrictive phase of their reopening plan, until further notice.