Florida to close bars after shattering record of new coronavirus cases
Florida is shutting down bars in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus, after the state reported a single-day record of new infections.
The announcement did not come from the office of Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), but from Halsey Beshears, the secretary of the agency that regulates Florida bars, who made the announcement via tweet.
Beshears said that on-premise alcohol consumption will stop immediately, effectively moving the state back to an earlier phase of reopening.
Florida shattered its single-day record of new coronavirus cases reported on Friday, adding an additional 8,942 confirmed infections, according to the Department of Health.
The state broke the previous record of 5,508, which was just set two days ago. Florida now has 122,960 coronavirus cases across the state. There have been 3,366 total deaths.
Florida set a record of 71,433 tests conducted on Thursday, and the positivity rate was 13.05 percent. The positivity rate is the ratio of positive cases to the number of tests conducted.
The positivity rate of all tests – including people who have been tested on multiple days – was 14.74 percent.
Florida is now the second state to reimpose restrictions, after Texas announced just a few hours earlier that it would close bars.
The move comes just days after Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said he would not move backwards to impose more restrictions to stem the spread of the disease.
However, on Thursday DeSantis said the state would pause and not move forward to its next phase, which would have included concert halls and other large venues returning to full capacity and theme parks would return to normal operations.
After initially resisting a statewide stay-at-home order, DeSantis was one of the last governors to institute one. The state began reopening businesses in May, and among the first businesses to open were restaurants, gyms, bars, and large outdoor sporting events, with crowd restrictions.
The Republican National Committee relocated its convention to Jacksonville, after President Trump said North Carolina would have imposed too many restrictions. The National Basketball Association is planning to hold the rest of its season in Disney World, and other sports teams have also committed to playing in the state.
After reopening, coronavirus cases in Florida were initially manageable, but began spiking in early June and were among the country’s highest.
DeSantis has resisted a statewide mandate for people to wear masks, and has argued that the state has plenty of hospital capacity available to deal with the surging number of cases.
He has also sought to downplay the significance of rising infections because the virus is targeting younger people.
According to the state, Floridians in the 25-to-34 age range account for the largest percentage of cases. The median age of the new cases reported Friday was 34.