TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Alcohol consumption has been suspended at all bars throughout the State of Florida as coronavirus cases approach 9,000.
The Department of Business and Professional Regulation announced via Twitter on Friday it was suspending on-premises consumption of alcohol at bars statewide. The suspension went into effect immediately.
The Florida DBPR has not issued an official press release with details so it’s not clear at this point what this means for breweries, restaurants and other businesses that serve alcohol. We also don’t know if this means Florida’s bars will be allowed to serve alcohol to go like they were during the statewide shutdown.
Earlier this week, Gov. Ron DeSantis threatened to suspend licenses of any bar or restaurant not following coronavirus guidelines. Secretary Halsey Beshears of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation said officers with the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco would be out from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. every night checking bars and restaurants.
Beshears also issued a reminder on Twitter Thursday that restaurants and bars were only allowed to operate at 50% capacity indoors.
Friday’s announcement came shortly after the Department of Health reported a record 8,942 new coronavirus cases. The total number of cases Florida has reported since the beginning of the pandemic is now 122,960.
The governor has noted this week that cases are increasing in younger age groups.
“What we’ve seen, particularly over the last week, is a real explosion in new cases among our younger demographics,” he said. “When we started this in March, the median age of people who tested positive was – I think – 65. As the testing ramped up, that went into the 50s. But it was pretty much in the 50s for most of the time and then just recently has really plunged.”
As of Friday morning, Florida residents in the 25 to 34 age group account for the highest percentage of the state’s coronavirus cases. A total of 23,495 Floridians in that age group have tested positive, which is 19% of the total.