The state of Florida has ordered bars throughout the state to stop serving alcohol, effective immediately. The move comes one day after the state set a record for positive Covid-19 tests, with 8,942 new cases in Florida yesterday.
With people in the 25-34 age group representing the largest segment of new cases, the state is shutting down service in bars in an attempt to slow transmission of the virus.
"Some of these cases involving younger individuals are suspected to have originated from visits to bars, pubs, or nightclubs who have disregarded the restrictions set forth in Phase 2 of the Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan for Florida’s Recovery; and... noncompliance by bars and other vendors licensed to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises is suspected throughout the State to such a degree as to make individualized enforcement efforts impractical and insufficient at this time," the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation wrote in its emergency order today.
The order applies to locations that earn half or more of their revenue from the sale of alcohol. Restaurants that make less than 50 percent of their revenue from alcohol may continue to serve, and bars may continue to sell alcohol "to go," in sealed containers. The new order could affect several locations at the Universal Orlando Resort and Walt Disney World's Disney Springs, as well as hotels at both resorts.
This is the first step backward in Florida's aggressive efforts to reopen the state after stay-at-home orders issues in response to the pandemic. After an initial wave of cases in New York and surrounding states, Florida now has become one of the hot spots in nation, based on new cases per capita and high positivity rates for testing.
Meanwhile, today was the first day that Walt Disney World's annual passholders could make reservations to visit the resort's theme parks, under Disney's required new advance reservation system. By mid-afternoon, annual passholders had claimed all slots available to them at all parks on 17 days in July and August, and all available slots at some theme parks on 17 other days. Disney resort hotel guests have claimed all spots at some theme parks for the resort's first week of operation in mid-July, but continue to have availability at all parks from July 19 on, as of today.
Daily ticket holders will get the opportunity to start booking dates next week. Disney is holding back separate availability for each of the three groups.
Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom and Disney's Animal Kingdom reopen on July 11, followed by Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios on July 15. All parks will operate with reduced capacity to support safe social distancing and also to reflect the closure of several attractions that cannot be effectively or safely operated under the new health rules. We listed what will be closed at each Walt Disney World park earlier this week.Tweet
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