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Ashland bars, taverns ordered to close as area COVID cases rise

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ASHLAND, WI -- Bars and taverns in Ashland are being ordered to close for more than two weeks as COVID-19 cases in the area continue to rise.

The Ashland County Health and Human Services Department issued the order Wednesday, after 32 new COVID-19 cases were reported in Ashland County in the last week.

To date, Ashland County is reporting 70 confirmed cases and two deaths.

The order goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. Friday, September 25 and will last through 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, October 11.

It impacts bars and taverns within the Ashland city limits and within 2.5 miles of the city.

County officials defined bars and taverns as establishments where alcohol sales account for more than 51 percent of income.

Bars and taverns that include restaurants are able to continue carry out, delivery, or curbside pick-up only.

If restaurants close their bar seating, they may stay open.

Restaurants that don't have a bar can stay open for dine-in, carry out, or delivery.

According to the county, businesses that violate the order could face a fine between $200 and $500 for each violation.

County health leaders cited the rural area and older population in issuing the order.

The order to close Ashland bars and taverns came on the same day that the Ashland School District announced it will be holding all classes online for at least two weeks.

Briggs LeSavage

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