COLUMBIA, Mo (NewsNation) — With at least 300 University of Missouri students infected with COVID-19 and cases rising, Columbia is requiring bars to close early and limiting crowd sizes.
City of Columbia/Boone County health director Stephanie Browning said new cases of COVID-19 “are increasing exponentially.”
She cited 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%.
Bars and restaurants must cut off alcohol sales at 9 p.m. and close no later than 10 p.m. beginning Friday, according to the city. Public gatherings must be limited to no more than 20 people, with some exceptions.
Positive COVID-19 cases in Boone County among people between the ages of 18 and 22 have jumped 220 percent in the last week.
After the order, one local live music bar, The Penguin Piano Bar, announced it had to shut its doors for good.
There are just over 300 positive cases of COVID-19 among students, according to MU’s database.
“There’s only about 4 to 5 students that are being isolated in quarantine in our facility and we currently have a capacity of 60 at the university, but we also have contracts with hotels to get additional rooms so we can ramp up,” said University of Missouri President Mun Choi.
NewsNation affiliate KTVI contributed to this report.