Tampa mayor directs restaurants, bars to close early, limit patrons

Tampa city mayor Jane Castor announced Monday that bars and restaurants will be required to limit operating hours and capacity to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Starting Tuesday, March 17 at noon, Castor said every restaurant and bar should have no more than half the number of patrons as their usual maximum capacity, which is set by the fire marshal. Additionally, Castor said all such establishments should close no later than 10 p.m., with an exception for takeout food orders, until further notice.

Earlier in the afternoon, Castor’s cross-bay counterpart made a similar announcement. Mayor Rick Kriseman ordered eateries and many other public places to cut their capacity in half and changed last call for alcohol to 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump suggested that Americans gather in groups no larger than 10.

If you feel sick

The Florida Department of Health has opened a COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Agents will answer questions Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Questions may also be emailed to covid-19@flhealth.gov. Email responses will be sent during call center hours.

LINK: Florida's COVID-19 website

CORONAVIRUS IN FLORIDA: What you need to know

RELATED: CoronavirusNOW.com, FOX launches national hub for COVID-19 news and updates.