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University of Alabama shuts down bars amid spike in COVID-19 cases

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Tuscaloosa is closing bars for the next two weeks after what University of Alabama officials call an unacceptable rise in coronavirus cases on campus.

Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox announced the closures along with the end of bar service at restaurants during a news conference with campus officials.

School officials didn’t offer numbers, but say there’s been a rapid rise in cases, particularly among fraternities and sororities. The university on Friday announced a moratorium on student gatherings both on and off campus.

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Maddox says an unchecked spread of the virus threatens to overwhelm the health care system and sink the local economy if students are sent home for the semester for remote learning.

University of Alabama President Stuart Bell says the rise in cases is unacceptable. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey praised the mayor and university officials for acting swiftly.