Reopened Bars and Restaurants in Florida Close 'Voluntarily' as Coronavirus Cases Spike

As Florida sees spikes in coronavirus cases, several bars and restaurants in Orlando have decided to voluntarily close down.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, several establishments near the University of Central Florida, the Mills 50, and Doctor Phillips neighborhoods will revert back to a “take-out” only option.

Many restaurants began re-opening in mid-May when lockdown restrictions were lifted. But as cases increase -- the publication notes that the Florida Department of Health reported 64 new deaths on Tuesday adding to the nearly 3,300 new cases -- many bars have shuttered out of an abundance of caution.

Others have begun to shut down after employees and/or customers tested positive for the highly contagious respiratory illness.

The owner of Pharmacy, Loren Falsone, told the publication he would shut down till mid-July to “be safe” and “nip this thing in the butt.”

“We have 32 employees, and we didn’t want it to spread further,” he said after an employee tested positive.

Another bar, Lil Indie’s, posted on Facebook that it would temporarily close to “use this time to properly clean and sanitize our spaces as well as come up with a plan for increased safety moving forward for both you and us.”

Earlier in the month, Erika Crisp, a healthcare worker in Jacksonville, went out to the recently opened Lynch’s Irish Pub with 15 friends, who all came down with COVID.

Additionally, seven Lynch employees tested positive. The general manager, Keith Doherty, closed down the bar temporarily for a deep cleaning and said he would implement additional safety measures upon re-opening that would include masks for employees, temperature checks for employees and patrons, and hand sanitizer throughout the establishment.

With cases surpassing the 100,000 threshold on Monday, Florida is on the verge of becoming the new epicenter for the virus.

Projections from a Wednesday model by scientists at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania show that Florida has "all the markings of the next large epicenter of coronavirus transmission."

"The potential for the virus to take off there is very, very nerve-racking and could have catastrophic consequences," Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo, director of the division of infectious diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham told CNN.

On Wednesday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that states of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are imposing a 14-day quarantine on travelers from some states with high coronavirus infection rates including Florida, Arizona, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

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