Florida suspends alcohol service at bars statewide

(Photo via MGN)
(Photo via MGN)(KTVF)
Published: Jun. 26, 2020 at 11:32 AM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation is suspending on premises consumption of alcohol at bars statewide.

The department made the announcement via Twitter Friday morning, soon after the Department of Health reported another record number of coronavirus cases.

DBPR Secretary Halsey Beshears tells WCTV the order is for standalone bars only, not restaurants that serve alcohol.

The DOH said there were 8,942 positive cases of COVID-19 Thursday, shattering previous highs. Until now, the highest number of cases was about 5,500, reported earlier this week.

“Based on 8500+ new cases and this recent spike, DBPR felt it was prudent to close the bars to arrest this surge in cases,” Secretary Beshears told WCTV.

Governor Ron DeSantis said the move was necessary because too many bar patrons, mostly young people, were not following the safety rules put in place.

“When people follow guidelines, we don’t have problems. The reason we had DBPR do it is widespread noncompliance... Follow the guidelines, we’ll be in good shape. Depart from that, it becomes problematic,” DeSantis said when asked about the about-face during a news conference in Ft. Myers Friday afternoon.

The governor ordered the closure of bars across Florida on March 17 as part of the shutdown to slow the spread of COVID-19. Bars were allowed to start serving again June 5 in the second phase of the governor’s reopening plan. State guidelines called for half capacity inside and full capacity outside, with seated service only and social distancing between tables.

You can view the emergency order DBPR issued below or at this link.

This is a developing story. Stay with WCTV for updates and reaction.

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