LONDON, ONT. -- The Middlesex-London Health Unit is recommending the temporary closure of all dine-in restaurants, bars, night clubs and theatres, and suggests there could be consequences for those that choose to stay open.

Dr. Chris Mackie, the MLHU's CEO and medical officer of health, said in a statement we are in a critical phase of the COVID-19 response.

"Many of these facilities and businesses are among the locations where there is the highest risk for one infected person to spread the illness to dozens, or even hundreds of others,” he added.

The businesses are asked to close as soon as possible and remain closed for at least two weeks to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The recommendation comes amid a slew of closures and cancellations across the city and country.

The health unit is encouraging restaurants to maintain takeout and delivery options even if dining rooms are closed, to provide food options.

Businesses that fail to comply "will be issued orders under Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act, as appropriate," the MLHU said.

The recommendations fall in line with similar restrictions being put in place in Toronto and across the province under the directive of Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health.