Florida on Friday announced a ban of on-premise alcohol consumption at bars, just after the state Department of Health released daily coronavirus figures showing its count increased by nearly 9,000 cases — more than 3,400 cases up from the previous daily increase.
Florida’s alcohol regulatory agency announced on Twitter the ban of alcohol consumption in bars, saying: “Effective immediately, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation is suspending on-premises consumption of alcohol at bars statewide.”
Florida’s Department of Health announced 8,942 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, topping the state’s previous daily record of 5,511 set Wednesday.
Florida now has nearly 123,000 cases and almost 3,400 coronavirus-related deaths.
Gov. Ron DeSantis said during a news briefing Friday that he does not believe enforcing face mask rules will help.
“We’ve advised that’s something that could make an impact,” DeSantis said. “At the same time, to do police and put criminal penalties on that is something that probably would backfire.”
DeSantis said that the median demographic age testing positive for COVID-19 “consistently is 33, 34, 35,” adding that if the median demographic is 33 years old, then half of that demographic is younger.
“The community transmission is being driven by the 18-35-year-old group,” he said, as this demographic was first to head back into social settings once restaurants and bars reopened.
Health officials have made it clear that people in older groups are more likely to suffer severe symptoms from the virus. But while young people are less likely to be symptomatic or die, they can still transfer the virus to other people.
“If you get infected, you will infect someone else,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said Friday specifically speaking to people under the age of 40, during the first White House Task Force press briefing on the coronavirus since late April.
Vice President Pence, the leader of the task force, said he would be traveling to Florida next week to evaluate the situation on the ground.
Pence was asked if he sees a correlation with the recent spikes in states such as Florida, Texas and Arizona with their early reopening strategies.
“I think there will be a temptation for people to look at these Sunbelt states that have been reopening and putting people back to work and suggest that the reopening has to do with what we’re seeing in the last week or so,” Pence said.
“But frankly, in the case of each of these states, they reopened, in some cases, almost two months ago.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.