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Rep. Devin Nunes Contradicts Experts' Calls For Coronavirus Social Distancing: 'Go To Your Local Pub'

TULARE, Tulare County (CBS SF / CNN) -- Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Tulare) on Sunday contradicted health experts' recommendation that Americans practice "social distancing" to curb the spread of coronavirus, instead urging "healthy" Americans to continue patronizing businesses during the pandemic.

"If you're healthy, you and your family, it's a great time to go out and go to a local restaurant, likely you can get in easily," Nunes said during an interview on Fox News as many cities announced new restrictions on bars and restaurants to limit gatherings.

"Let's not hurt the working people in this country ... go to your local pub," he added.

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House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) speaks to reporters during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol March 22, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The suggestion directly contradicts recommendations put forth in recent days by government agencies and public health experts. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been urging "social distancing" -- defined as "remaining out of places where people meet or gather" and "avoiding local public transportation" -- even if you don't have any symptoms of the virus as a way to slow the spread of the disease.


The recommendation, which comes as the coronavirus continues to take hold in the US, has caused some states and cities to implement drastic regulations on businesses, including in Nunes' home state of California, where Gov. Gavin Newsom has said that bars, nightclubs, wineries and brewpubs will be closed during the pandemic. The state's restaurant capacities must also be reduced by half.

At the same news conference on Sunday, Newsom also encouraged those 65 and older, along with those with chronic conditions to self-isolate at home.

"We are doing so with our eyes wide open at the magnitude of what that means and the need to provide wrap-around services to support our seniors in need of medical supplies, in need of meals and the like," the governor said.

Meanwhile, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he will limit all bars and restaurants in the city to takeout and delivery only, while the New Jersey city of Hoboken is implementing a city-wide curfew and new restrictions, starting Monday, in response to coronavirus.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease and a key member of the Trump administration's coronavirus task force, has also been pushing for Americans to limit their time in public places.

Asked by CNN's Brianna Keilar on "State of the Union" if he'd like a "national lockdown" where people are being told they need to stay home and out of restaurants and bars, Fauci said he'd "like to see a dramatic diminution of the personal interaction that we see" in those places, adding: "Whatever it takes to do that, that's what I'd like to see."

As of early Monday morning, there were at least 3,563 known cases of the novel coronavirus in the US and at least 65 deaths from the disease, according to state and local health agencies, governments and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten. CNN contributed to this report.

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