The Orange County Board of Commissioners is ordering restaurants, breweries, and private clubs to be closed to dine-in services after 10 p.m., according to a Thursday amendment to the county’s state of emergency declaration, which mandates face coverings in most situations and extends through August 31. 

The amendment, which goes into effect Friday, applies to any dine-in scenario, including outdoor seating or barstools, although takeout will be permitted. The businesses are also not allowed to sell alcohol from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.

“These additional measures will help protect our community by reducing group settings where the virus can easily spread,” Commissioner Chair Penny Rich said in a press statement. “We must be vigilant in practicing physical distancing and wearing masks. It is more important than ever that we look out for each other.”

However, the amendment makes it obvious that bar hoppers are the ones whose potential behavior is in question, citing that “several restaurants are remaining open to the early morning hours with limited food service and primarily alcohol service,” and that UNC students and faculty are about to return to campus, and “there is a tendency of this student age–group population to engage in more socialization and to gather in large numbers.”

The amendment comes one day after UNC Athletics announced that 37 of its athletes, coaches, and staff tested positive for COVID-19.

The initial declaration and this amendment are in effect until the state of emergency is terminated. There is no word on whether Franklin Street landlords will be required to reduce their notoriously high rents on commercial properties.

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