South Boston bars and restaurants will close on Sunday, according to a legislator who represents the area. The move comes on the advice of public health officials aiming to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Social media users had shown bars in South Boston packed with patrons Saturday. State Sen. Nick Collins said those people who crowded the bars obviously aren't taking the crisis seriously.
"It's troubling, to be honest with you," he said. "A lot of the folks that were standing in line work at companies that told them to work from home.”
On Sunday morning, Collins said that all South Boston bars and restaurants voluntarily agreed to close their doors, citing the "uncharted waters" of the spread of coronavirus and the need for the public to chip in and help.
“Thank you to Mayor Walsh, my fellow South Boston elected officials and neighbors, the Licensing Board and license holders in South Boston for working with us and taking these sound proactive measures to protect the public’s health,” Collins said in a statement. “We are all in this together and it’s imperative now that we all do all that we can to keep our communities safe.”
Public health experts are adamant that the impact of the deadly virus can be mitigated by social distancing, keeping away from others so the illness isn't transmitted.
"I would like to see a dramatic diminution of the personal interaction we see in restaurants and in bars," said Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in a CNN interview Sunday.
The Glynn Group, owners of The Black Rose in Southie, says this is the first time in the bar's 40-plus history that it will close for St. Patrick's Day festivities.
The Glynn Group says they are evaluating the situation and following guidance by city and public health officials.
"We are postponing the celebration to a later date, as we all need to do our part right now to help stop the spread of the coronavirus," the owners said in a statement Sunday morning. "We appreciate our customers and look forward to celebrating with you all soon.”
Southie resident Trenton Garlington is "very disappointed" the bars were closed Sunday.
“Definitely kind of wild,” added George Walker.
John Stame, visiting from Rhode Island, said, "It's pretty much a bummer."
But while some say it's a big buzzkill, especially on the normally busy St. Patrick's Day weekend, others understand it's all about safety because we're in the middle of a global pandemic.
"It’s terrible. It’s terrifying," said Doug Dimmerdome, also visiting from Rhode Island. "It seems like the world’s going to end.”
“People can go party elsewhere," Walker said. "Maybe like their houses or backyard or something like that.”
Late Sunday afternoon, Mayor Walsh ordered all bars, restaurants and clubs to reduce their capacity to half and close by 11 p.m. every night.
"The violations, and violators of this, will be shut down for automatically 30 days,” he said.
Home is where people are planning to take their parties in the meantime. When some people found out the lights were out at their favorite bars, they stopped at a liquor store.
“We’re going to have a good time," Stame said. "We’re going to get fired up.”
Later Sunday, Gov. Charlie Baker issued an "unprecedented" slate of orders and proposed legislation, including prohibiting any restaurant, bar or establishment that offers food or drink from serving food on-premises, effective Tuesday. Instead, they can offer food for takeout or delivery, but they must also follow social distancing protocols outlined in Department of Public Health guidance.