Florida state officials on Friday ordered bar owners to stop selling alcohol at their establishments after the state made another record of new single-day COVID-19 cases.
“…the Department of Business and Professional Regulation is suspending on-premises consumption of alcohol at bars statewide,” read the tweet of Halsey Beshears on Friday at 11 am.
The new order came as a shock to both the employers and the employees of the bars who had just resumed their works after the three-month-long state-mandated shutdown.
Governor Ron DeSantis had ordered all the bars and restaurants of Florida to keep their businesses shut for a while to help limit the spread of Coronavirus. The state’s eventual reopening policy allowed the restaurants to reopen on May 4, while the bars remained close until June 5.
On Friday, Florida logged a new single-day high for Coronavirus infection with 8,942 new cases over 24 hours. The decision of suspending sales of alcohol is a result of the spiking concern, Beshears said in a statement on Friday afternoon.
“Based on recent increases in COVID-19 cases and non-compliance with previous orders, (the department) has taken action to suspend on-premises alcohol sales at the bar.
(The department) believes this is a necessary step to take to protect public health as we continue working in partnership with industry and health officials to combat COVID-19.”
The order urges all businesses that derive more than 50% of their revenue from alcohol sales to cease the operation immediately. Bars can still sell alcohol in go-to containers but not to customers on their premises.
It also states that restaurants that do not depend on alcohol sales for a majority of their revenue may continue serving their patrons on site. However, breweries remain unmentioned.
The news comes just days after the Governor threatened to revoke the liquor license of bars that are not complying with the Coronavirus restrictions.
“People weren’t following it,” he said. “There was widespread non-compliance, and that led to issues.
If folks just follow the guidelines, we’re going to be in good shape. When you depart from that, then it becomes problematic,” DeSantis said on a Friday conference in Naples.
The response to this move involved wide criticism for it is whimsical and confusing and would affect the economy of the business a lot.
While some have bashed the state for taking an irresponsible move, some have advised others to try doing anything that helps keep the lights on.
Earlier this week, the government pulled the liquor license of the Orland-based bar, the Knight’s Pub, which reportedly ran afoul with the reopening guidelines, adding 40 more positive cases to the spiking record.
However, Michael D’Esposito, the owner of the Knight’s Pub blasted the state’s move, noting that his bar was open only for three days earlier this month.
“Despite our limited reopening that was encouraged by our political leaders, our establishment is now being used as the scapegoat for all COVID-19 cases in the surrounding Orlando area.”