Columbia bars must close early amid spike in virus cases

Bars and restaurants must cut off alcohol sales at 9 p.m. and close no later than 10 p.m.

Alcohol

O’FALLON, Mo. With more than 300 University of Missouri students infected with the coronavirus and cases also rising among permanent residents of Columbia, the city is limiting crowd sizes and requiring bars to close early. Health director Stephanie Browning says new cases of COVID-19 “are increasing exponentially.” She cites a test positivity rate of 44.6% last week as evidence of “widespread community transmission.” By comparison, the county’s rate before students returned to class on Aug. 19 was 11%. Effective Friday, public gatherings must be limited to no more than 20 people, with some exceptions. Bars and restaurants must cut off alcohol sales at 9 p.m. and close no later than 10 p.m.