Florida urgently banned alcohol consumption at its bars on Friday as the coronavirus threatened to spiral out of control in the state.
The move came as Florida’s daily confirmed coronavirus cases neared 9,000, a new record almost double the previous mark set just two days earlier.
The Florida agency that governs bars announced the alcohol ban on Twitter just minutes after the Department of Health reported 8,942 new confirmed cases, topping the previous record of 5,500 set on Wednesday.
State officials have attributed much of the new outbreak to young adults flocking to bars after they reopened in most of the state three weeks ago, with many of them ignoring social distancing restrictions aimed at lowering the virus’s spread.
Bars, like restaurants, were supposed to limit customers to 50% of their normal capacity, under the state’s emergency orders. Patrons had to sit at tables, with groups six feet apart and no congregating at the bar or on the dance floor was permitted.
The new order prohibits any establishment that makes more than 50% of its revenue from alcohol sales from serving alcohol for consumption on site.