Some pubs closing temporarily as Florida virus cases rise

ORLANDO, Fla.– Some Florida bars and restaurants are temporarily closing their doors after being back open for just a few weeks because workers or patrons have tested positive for the new coronavirus.

The closures come as the number of new daily coronavirus cases in Florida on Sunday exceeded 2,000 cases for a second day in a row. The Florida Department of Health reported that Florida had 75,568 total cases and 2,931 related deaths.

In the Orlando suburb of Altamonte Springs, a restaurant closed temporarily after some patrons notified the owner about testing positive and some staffers started exhibiting symptoms, though not at work.

“This may seem like an extravagant step, however we are taking no chances with the health of our staff and our customers,” Kiwi’s Pub & Grill said in a Facebook posting.

Three bars in downtown St. Petersburg and two restaurants in the city’s restaurant district temporarily closed recently after some staffers tested positive for the virus.

“All those exhibiting any symptoms were told to immediately see a doctor and obtain a test,” one of the bars, The Galley, posted on Facebook. “We have quarantined those staffers for the recommended 14 days.”

The bar said it would reopen once all staffers were tested, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Others said they were reopening after a deep cleaning.

“All restaurant, bars in St. Pete that have had an employee test positive should follow the lead of these places,” St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman tweeted Satuday. “Shut down, allow for contact tracing, test all employees, and reopen when safe. Residents must also do what is necessary to keep St. Pete safe.”

Two restaurants in Naples closed temporarily within the past week or so due to coronavirus concerns.

“All our staff have access to appropriate and immediate testing. Additionally, our restaurant has been thoroughly and professionally cleaned and sanitized,” New York Pizza and Pasta said in a June 8 Facebook post.

Florida started letting restaurants reopen last month and bars opened their doors last week after they were forced to close to stop the spread of the virus.

The surge in positive coronavirus cases comes as Florida is set to become a hub for major sports leagues. The NBA, Major League Soccer, the Amateur Athletics Union Junior Olympics and others plan to hold games and events in Florida, potentially drawing thousands of people to the state from around the world.

Universal Orlando, SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay opened their doors this month, and Walt Disney World is set to reopen its theme parks next month.

The percent of Floridians testing positive for COVID-19 was 5% on Sunday.

The vast majority of people who test positive for the coronavirus recover and many never experience any symptoms. The disease is particularly dangerous for the elderly and people who have pre-existing health problems. AP

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