Florida Orders Bars to Shut Down as Coronavirus Cases Hit New Record

A Florida bar is closed under a state declaration to help curb the spread of coronavirus disease, in Key West, Florida, March 17, 2020. (Carol Tedesco/Florida Keys News Bureau/Handout via Reuters)

Florida on Friday ordered all bars to close as cases of the coronavirus in the state continue to spike.

“Effective immediately, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation is suspending on premises consumption of alcohol at bars statewide,” Secretary Halsey Beshears of Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation announced on Twitter.

Florida reported a record daily high of 8,942 new coronavirus cases on Friday, the state’s Department of Health said. Friday’s cases smashed the state’s previous record from Wednesday, 5,508 new cases, and bump the state’s total number of coronavirus cases to 122,960.

Just a day earlier, Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican, vowed not to impose new restrictions on businesses even as the virus spread more rapidly across his state.

“We’re not shutting down. We’re going to go forward we’re going to continue to protect the most vulnerable, we’re going to urge continue to advise, particularly our elderly population, to maintain social distancing and avoid crowds,” DeSantis said last week.

However, the governor indicated Thursday that Florida would not be moving to the next phase of reopening in the immediate future.

“We are where we are,” the governor said Thursday. “I did not say we are going to go on to the next phase.”

“We did the opening at the beginning of May, had very steady, manageable cases. Obviously we’ve seen that turn lately,” DeSantis added.

Florida entered in Phase Two of the state’s three-phase reopening plan earlier this month. In Phase Three, the state will begin operating close to normally again. The state started to re-open its economy on May 4.

Texas, another state that has seen its coronavirus cases spike in recent weeks, also imposed new restrictions on Friday, ordering bars to close and restaurants to operate at a more limited capacity.

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