TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) - The Tippecanoe County Health Department is making a change to the current mandate on restaurants, bars and nightclubs in the county. County Health Officer Dr. Jeremy Adler made the announcement at Wednesday's bi-weekly coronavirus update.
Tippecanoe County food and beverage establishments can now offer bar top service until 9 p.m. However, dining patrons are required to stay sitting and maintain social distance between parties while being served at the bar. This new amendment will begin Thursday, September 10th.
As we previously reported, the county health department implemented a mandate on food and beverage businesses on August 14th. Dr. Adler said from the beginning that the restaurant mandate is a proactive measure as Purdue students returned to the community.
This is the only change being made to the mandate. Dr. Adler said they did consider modifying the midnight curfew. However, he said the county is not quite at that level yet. He said they will continue to monitor data and will keep extending the curfew on the table as a future step.
Dr. Adler said this decision was made based on feedback from local businesses and elected leaders. He hopes this first step towards easing the restaurant mandate will keep the health of the community and the sustainability of businesses in balance.
"After careful consideration and consultation with the 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," he said.
Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski is also in support of this change. He said this is an example of the great collaboration between leaders in the county.
"If we get this bar top service back in at least until 9 o'clock, we can get through lunches and dinners," he said. "That is certainly a good step in the right direction and I appreciate everyone working together to make that happen."
Dr. Adler also said restaurants create an environment where the virus can spread more easily. And while the mandate is working to keep our numbers down, it isn't helping local establishments. As we've previously reported, the Neon Cactus in West Lafayette is one of the most notable business casualties caused by coronavirus.
The county's overall positivity rate is 4.8%. That's still below the World Health Organization goal of 5%. Purdue's coronavirus numbers are also staying steady with an overall positivity rate of 2.54%.