(CNN)Americans have to stop going congregating in bars, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) said Tuesday.
But he said people can and should still have fun.
"Bars: really not good, really not good. Congregation at a bar, inside, is bad news. We really have got to stop that," Fauci said to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee hearing on "COVID-19: Update on Progress Toward Safely Getting Back to Work and Back to School."
Since states started gradually reopening, bars have proven to be a perfect breeding grounds for the virus, healthcare professionals say.
At least 85 people contracted coronavirus after visiting an East Lansing, Michigan, bar earlier this month. In Louisiana, health officials say they've received at least 100 reports of positive cases from people who visited or worked at Tigerland bars in Baton Rouge.
At least one Idaho county moved back a stage in reopening, announcing bars and nightclubs would not be allowed to remain open after many of the state's new cases were associated with people who reported having a night out. And in California, the governor ordered bars closed in seven counties Sunday, days after saying an increase in cases was driven by young groups and gatherings.
But Fauci said that doesn't mean we have to restrict everything, "because people are not going to tolerate that."
"We should not look at the public health endeavors as being an obstruction to opening up. We should look at it as a vehicle to opening up," he said.
"We've got to be able to get people to get out and enjoy themselves within the safe guidelines that we have," Fauci said. "Make public health work for you as opposed to against you."