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Denton County orders closure of bars, gyms, theaters in response to first community spread COVID-19 case

Denton County ordered the closure of local bars, gyms, theaters and entertainment venues and limited gatherings to 50 people Thursday in response to the first case of community spread COVID-19. 

The Commissioner’s Court adopted an amendment to the disaster declaration for Denton County issued by Judge Andy Eads forcing the closure of many local businesses and limiting gatherings to 50 people. Restaurants can continue to offer drive-thru and takeout service, but dine-in service is prohibited. The order, effective noon Thursday through March 25, is an attempt to further limit the spread of COVID-19 after three additional cases were confirmed in Denton County yesterday, one by community spread. There were a total of five confirmed cases as of Wednesday evening, with four patients in home quarantine and a Lewisville man in critical condition at a local hospital. 

“We are taking these mandatory aggressive measures now with the first case demonstrating community spread in Denton County,” Eads said. “We do not take these decisions lightly. However, we must act early, act decisively and act aggressively to flatten the curve in the community spread of this disease. 

“These actions are meant to spare lives.”

The order also instructs nursing homes and care facilities to prohibit non-essential visitors and removes restrictions on delivery times for food and medicine. Members of a household with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus must self-quarantine for 14 days. Public access to county buildings will also be limited, with many closed to walk-in traffic March 19. 

Eads acknowledged the hardship the order would place on local businesses, but emphasized the restrictions are in the interest of protecting community health. 

“I know that these restrictions will impact many of our residents and businesses,” Eads said. “We want them to know that these measures are not being undertaken lightly and are being enacted solely with the health and wellbeing of all our residents in mind.”

Amber Gaudet can be reached via email at agaudet@twu.edu and on Twitter as amb_balam.

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