In an order that becomes effective Thursday, Tippecanoe County health officer Jeremy Adler amended the Aug. 13 restaurant guidelines that banned bar-top service to temper the spread of COVID-19 by permitting restaurants to serve at bars until 9 p.m.
“After careful consideration and consultation with the (Tippecanoe County) Board of Health, the order will be amended to include this relatively low-risk modification that we hope will help establishments increase their dining capacity,” Adler said in the weekly Tippecanoe County Health Department COVID-19 press conference on Wednesday.
This amendment comes after Adler and the health department received pushback from more than 700 bar and restaurant workers who signed a petition requesting that several of the health department’s guidelines be revoked. Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski also advocated that the restrictions be weakened.
Adler said the amendment was introduced because of “feedback from local businesses.”
Health department administrator Khala Hochstedler confirmed that the addition of bar-top service is the only change to Adler’s previous order, despite petitioners asking the county to revoke the mandatory midnight closing time for businesses.
Restaurants are still limited to 75% capacity, and bars are limited to 50% with a mandatory closing time of midnight. Dance floors are off limits. Patrons are required to be seated and cannot congregate in areas surrounding dartboards or pool tables unless participating in the activities.
“We feel this is a good first step and a step that can be done safely,” Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski said. “We’re going to continue to watch and do everything we can for our local businesses.”