These Two States Just Shut Down Bars Again with No Reopening in Sight
If you live in Texas or Florida, you won't be going out to a bar to celebrate the end of lockdown any time soon. The governors of these two states announced all bars are mandated to immediately shut down again due to a surge in COVID-19 cases.
According to the state health department, Florida's new coronavirus case count doubled to 9,000 over the last 24 hours. Halsey Beshears, the secretary of Florida's Department of Business and Professional Regulation, announced in a tweet that Florida is "suspending on premises consumption of alcohol at bars statewide." Whether or not bars can keep selling alcoholic beverages for takeout remains unclear.
Texas isn't faring much better, being one of the main contributors to a new U.S. record of almost 40,000 new cases reported on Thursday. The decision to shut down all bars in the state came early this morning, as governor Greg Abbott pointed to gatherings at bars as one of the main culprits for growing infection numbers in the Lone Star State. "At this time, it is clear that the rise in cases is largely driven by certain types of activities, including Texans congregating in bars," he said.
Establishments that earn more than 51% of gross receipts from sales of alcohol are mandated to shut down on-premise operations immediately, but they can stay open for takeout and delivery. Restaurants in Texas are staying open as well, but will have to roll back their capacity to 50%. The governor declined to provide a timeline for reopening of bars again.
The two states started reopening in early in May
It's worth noting that Texas and Florida were among the first states to begin reopening in early May. In Florida, the stay-at-home order expired on April 30, and the state immediately decided to reopen their beaches. Restaurants reopened at limited capacity in early May, while bars were allowed to reopen at half capacity starting June 5. Stay-at-home orders in Texas expired on May 1. Restaurants were allowed to reopen on May 1 and increase capacity to 75% by June 12, while bars were operating at 50% capacity since June 3. Sign up for our newsletter to get the latest coronavirus news delivered straight to your inbox.