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Milwaukee, other cities order bars, restaurants closed

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin’s largest city, Milwaukee, joined with 10 other communities in Milwaukee County in closing all bars and restaurants indefinitely as of early Tuesday morning, the latest move to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The closure order began on St. Patrick’s Day, usually one of the busiest business days of the year for bars and restaurants across the state. The order allows for restaurants with take-out and delivery options to continue offering those.

It comes after Gov. Tony Evers on Monday issued an indefinite statewide ban on gatherings of 50 or more people, but allowed bars and restaurants to remain open if they comply with those restrictions. The federal government later Monday recommended limiting gatherings to no more than 10 people at a time.

“This will be extremely difficult on the family-owned bars, local restaurants and small businesses that make Milwaukee County the best place to call home,” a statement from the 11 cities said. “We are in unprecedented times, and that calls for unprecedented actions.”

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.

The drive to stop the virus from spreading to the most vulnerable people and to not overwhelm health care systems with sick patients is pushing the urgent calls for people to avoid crowds or to just stay home.

Wisconsin had 47 confirmed cases of COVID-17 as of Monday, distributed through 11 counties. Milwaukee County had the most with 13 and state health leaders said the virus was likely spreading through Wisconsin communities now, not just being contracted by people who had traveled out-of-state to areas with higher infection rates.

The Milwaukee County communities with the restaurant and bar ban are Milwaukee, South Milwaukee, St. Francis, Bayside, Brown Deer, Cudahy, Fox Point, Glendale, River Hills, Shorewood and Whitefish Bay.

By SCOTT BAUER with APNEWS

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Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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The Associated Press receives support for health and science coverage from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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Evers orders bars, restaurants to close, limits gatherings