LAWRENCE – After monitoring the level of COVID-19 cases in the community in recent weeks since the Sept. 4 health order took effect, Douglas County leaders have agreed to extend hours in which establishments with liquor licenses can serve alcohol.
The updated health order will take effect at 12:01 a.m., Friday, Oct. 2, and requires all restaurants, bars and entertainment venues with a liquor license to cease serving alcohol at 11 p.m. and close their premises — including all outside seating areas or patios to customers — no later than midnight. The previous order required establishments to cease alcohol sales at 9 p.m. and to close their premises at 10 p.m.
“We believe we have seen good results in our work with local restaurants, bars and entertainment venues in offering them guidance and support on how to comply with the health orders and offer safe environments through social distancing and mask wearing,” Director Dan Partridge said. “We appreciate the work of the Lawrence Restaurant Assocation members and establishment owners for their efforts and continuing dialogue on how to create environments that can help minimize risk for COVID-19 exposure and to help businesses.”
“The health of Douglas County is our top priority, and we appreciate being involved in the discussions so that we can collaborate on productive measures for safe socialization in our establishments,” said Emily Peterson, an officer of the Lawrence Restaurant Association.
The public health order is the most recent in a series initiated beginning in early July in response to a large number of cases stemming from bar environments. Establishments can still offer carryout or delivery of food only after the requirement to close premises by midnight. Restaurants that do not have a liquor license are not required to close at midnight.
The order keeps other major public health requirements in place including prohibiting mass gatherings of more than 45 people and the face mask requirement. You can read the full order at LDCHealth.org/Coronavirus or douglascountyks.org/coronavirus.
Businesses can request a site visit from LDCPH staff who can offer advice in person and answer questions about compliance, policies and guidance. Guidance is also available at LDCHealth.org. Anyone with questions or concerns about compliance with a health order can email email@example.com.