On Monday morning, Mayor Dee Margo spoke to Mike and Tricia listeners and said that the City was not putting closing down bars or restaurants on the table to deal with the coronavirus outbreak. On Tuesday afternoon, City officials did just that.

Dr. Hector Ocaranza from the El Paso Health Department told City reps and the mayor that he would be issuing an order to close down bars, private clubs, lounges, and taverns immediately.

Restrictions were also put on restaurants to help prevent the spread of coronavirus:

1. Restaurant occupancy - For the time being, the number of people who will be allowed inside restaurants can be no more than 50% of their maximum stated occupancy.

2. Table occupancy - No more than six people will be allowed to be seated together at tables or booths.

3. Space between tables - There must be at least six feet between occupied tables and booths.

Restaurants and bars aren't the only businesses that might be affected by the new rules. The Health Department could also place restrictions on other types of businesses, even gyms. If restaurant and bar owners do not obey the new orders from Ocaranza and City Council, they could face a $500 fine per violation.

While City Council voted in support of Ocaranza's recommendations, he actually has the legal authority to close down bars and restaurants and put restrictions in place even if he didn't get Council's approval.

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