Three months after the Covid-19 pandemic forced bars and restaurants to close in Florida, some businesses have shut within one week of reopening as coronavirus cases spike in the state.
At least six bars in northern and central Florida have now announced their closures amid new Covid-19 cases, which peaked on Sunday.
The state’s health department has since confirmed two consecutive days with more than 2,000 new cases, breaking records set when the pandemic began in March.
That announcement came almost one week on from Florida’s second reopening phase permitting bars, cinemas and tattoo shops to welcome customers with some restrictions, as mandated under governor Ron DeSantis’ reopening plan.
Still, increased Covid-19 transmission in Florida has forced some businesses to shut down.
One bar on Jacksonville Beach said on Sunday that it needed to close because customers had been who were Covid-19 positive. “Our establishment has become aware of positive tests for COVID-19 and have visited our business,” wrote Wreck Tiki Lounge owner Fernando Meza on Facebook, local reports said. “We will be closed the next few days to sanitize the bar and send our staff to get tested.”
Another business in the area, Lynch’s Irish Pub, also announced its closure this weekend after 15 people contracted Covid-19 there. A woman among those infected told Action News Jax on Monday that all 15, who were friends, had tested positive following a 6 June gathering at the pub.
Lynch’s Irish Pub also told the local news outlet that among 49 employees, seven had tested positive for Covid-19 since the bar reopened on June 5. It is now closed to sanitise the premises.
Action News Jax reported at least six Jacksonville Beach businesses to be closed on Monday, including Tavern, The Wreck, Lynch’s Irish Pub, The Wine Bar, Mellow Mushroom and Graffiti Burger.
Another bar, in Florida’s Altamonte Springs, also said on Friday that it needed to close due to Covid-19 cases.
On Facebook, said Newsweek, the Kiwi’s Pub & Grill wrote: “It saddens me to say that Kiwi’s will be closing temporarily effective immediately. We have been informed by 6 different people today that they have been infected with the coronavirus and they have been inside Kiwis’s within the last week” The bar added: “This may seem like an extravagant step, however we are taking no chances with the health of our staff and our customers”.
Florida has now seen almost 76,000 Covid-19 infections since March, which include Saturday’s highest daily increase, at 2,587 new cases.
Governor deSantis denounced new coronavirus concerns on Sunday, as Donald Trump plans on staging this summer’s Republican convention in the state.
“I think it’s important for people to understand who is being tested now compared to who was being tested in March and early April when we had kind of our peaks then,” said deSantis.
WRITER: Gino Spocchia