Plano to ban restaurant dine-in services amid closures of bars, movie theaters, gyms as city responds to coronavirus

Plano City Council approved restrictions to dine-in services at restaurants as well as closures of gyms, movie theaters and bars in an effort to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. (Courtesy city of Plano)
Plano City Council approved restrictions to dine-in services at restaurants as well as closures of gyms, movie theaters and bars in an effort to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. (Courtesy city of Plano)

Plano City Council approved restrictions to dine-in services at restaurants as well as closures of gyms, movie theaters and bars in an effort to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. (Courtesy city of Plano)

The city of Plano plans to shut down restaurant dine-in services and close movie theaters, gyms and bars starting 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 18, a step that is expected to last until at least March 27.

Plano City Council on Tuesday approved these new measures as part of the city’s public health emergency authority, which allows the city to take extraordinary action to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.

Council members also extended the city’s public health emergency until April 27, up from the seven-day length that was authorized on Monday.

As part of the emergency declaration, the city had already closed its libraries and recreation centers. Sports leagues were canceled, as were nonessential city commission and board meetings.

The city had also activated its emergency operations center.


Restaurants in Plano would be allowed to remain open for take-out and delivery services, but could not host groups or individuals dining in. Officials acknowledged the new restrictions would have a widespread effect on a Plano business community already reeling from the response to the coronavirus.

Plano Fire-Rescue's medical director told council members to expect the number of confirmed Plano cases of the new coronavirus to jump in the coming days as private labs make testing for the virus more readily available.

Residents should continue to distance themselves from crowds, work from home and treat even small social gatherings with caution, Dr. Mark Gamber told Plano City Council at its March 17 meeting.

“It’s already here," Gamber said. "We just don’t have the ability to test for it right now.”

Two Plano residents have tested positive for the new coronavirus as of March 17, according to Collin County.

Mayor Harry LaRosiliere would have the authority to cancel the city’s emergency declaration before it expires. He said he wanted to give the city manager all the tools needed to protect residents from the virus and to do so early enough to make a difference.

“I don’t want to be the presiding mayor that could have done something 10 days ago, but I was waiting to be cautious,” LaRosiliere said.
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By Daniel Houston

Daniel Houston covers Plano city government, transportation, business and education for Community Impact Newspaper. A Fort Worth native and Baylor University graduate, Daniel reported previously for The Associated Press in Oklahoma City and The Dallas Morning News.


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