The City of Cedar Rapids sent out a press release Monday requesting that all Cedar Rapids bars and restaurants close for St. Patrick's Day.

This is an attempt to discourage citizens from congregating in large crowds to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Social distancing and abstaining from gathering in large crowds are among the recommended health advice. City officials believe that allowing normal St. Patrick’s Day activity will cause a public safety hazard.

Restaurants and bars in the area have been asked to "significantly limit patron activity" starting Monday, March 16. Below are guidelines that the establishments are being asked to adhere to:

  • No more than 25 people may be present at the same time
  • Bar seating is suspended
  • Standing patrons should not be served
  • Individual tables may not seat more than six people
  • Occupied tables and booths must be separated by at least six feet
  • Waiting patrons should not congregate in lobby/waiting areas or outside entrances
  • Encourage carry out and delivery food orders

This is obviously a concern for business owners and employees. Cedar Rapids Mayor Brad Hart said, “We understand the impact this will have on area business, but we must do everything we can to safeguard the health of our residents, including those working in the bars and restaurants...We will work hard to mitigate the economic impact. Our goal to get everyone through this.”

The city is also encouraging residents to not dine in at restaurants and to order delivery, carry out food, or use drive-thru services to avoid crowds.