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News Alert: Florida, Texas Order Shutdowns of Bars and Nightclubs

June 26, 2020

The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation has banned on-premise bar and nightclub alcohol sales in the Sunshine State, following Friday morning’s announcement that nearly 9,000 new people tested positive for Covid-19. The previous record, 5,500 new cases, was set on Wednesday, June 24.

According to Emergency Order 2020-09, all establishments that bring in more than 50% of their gross revenue from alcohol sales must immediately suspend on-premise sales. Bars may continue to sell drinks to-go. The order states that licensed restaurants that bring in less than 50% of gross revenue from alcohol sales may continue to serve on-premise as long as they are following the state’s social distancing protocols.

The order was delivered in response to massive upswing in positive tests—particularly among young people—that followed the state’s on-premise reopening. The AP reports that Florida has recorded 24,000 new cases since last Saturday, over 20% of the state’s total cases.

Florida’s announcement follows a similar move by Texas, which announced on Friday morning that bars would close at noon and restaurants would be limited to 50% capacity. In addition, Governor Greg Abbott shut down river rafting and required outdoor gatherings of over 100 people to get state approval. “At this time, it is clear that the rise in cases is largely driven by certain types of activities, including Texans congregating in bars,” said a statement from the governor. “Every Texan has a responsibility to themselves and their loved ones to wear a mask, wash their hands, stay six feet apart from others in public, and stay home if they can.”—Shane English

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