Florida's Bars Go Dry, As Disney Fans Book More Dates

June 26, 2020, 2:08 PM · 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.

Replies (19)

June 26, 2020 at 2:54 PM

Meanwhile, Illinois is about to do Phase 4 of indoor dining now okay (with masks and distancing) as well as gyms, theaters, museums, etc.

Which shows that two months of shelter orders may have been a short-term economic hardship but better than what's happening in other states.

June 26, 2020 at 3:59 PM

>>Which shows that two months of shelter orders may have been a short-term economic hardship but better than what's happening in other states.

I think that is important. its not "Economy" OR "Public Health". The economy is reliant on people and serves people. If you don't deal with the barriers that people face, the economy is going to suffer anyway.

(...and even if it was a choice, people should win over the economy every time. Its there to serve us, not us it)

June 26, 2020 at 4:18 PM

Florida is a big state with a mixed population density. This closure probably could have been handled by municipality and not the entire state. There are many counties with low numbers whose bar owners are being punished. Governor DeSantis will be judged by this crisis in the next election.

June 26, 2020 at 5:23 PM

I was desperately clinging on to hope that I wouldn’t have to cancel my August Florida trip, but this is the final straw. It’s getting cancelled !

June 26, 2020 at 6:23 PM

June 26, 2020 at 5:23 PM
I was desperately clinging on to hope that I wouldn’t have to cancel my August Florida trip, but this is the final straw. It’s getting cancelled !"

So your cancelling because if the positivity rate, or the inability to get hammered? I certainly hope its not because of the bars .... ??

June 26, 2020 at 9:42 PM

So cancel Trader Sam's, Abracadabra and the Hanger Bar, my WDW favorites.

June 26, 2020 at 10:01 PM

@samecho: You get that viruses are not held back by county lines? The states who did that are paying for it whereas Illinois was entire state and doing pretty well now.

June 26, 2020 at 10:33 PM

As a 10 year season passholder, I Flew roundtrip from MI to Orlando earlier this month to celebrate Universal's opening. Stayed at an on-site hotel and enjoyed two days with thousands of people in the park. Felt safe the entire time and booked our 2nd trip this summer for late July.

Your chance of contracting COVID is minimal if you follow the required protocols in the park (i.e. mask, distance, hand sanitizing), and your not classified as high risk. And yes, the experience is different than the other times I've gone and I accept this as the new normal as I do wearing a mask daily in public.

June 26, 2020 at 10:34 PM

I’m not so sure about that. From June 19 to June 26, there has been a 14.7% increase in Illinois in the 7-day moving average. May take a few weeks of phase 4 to see if the trend continues, but it seems it doesn’t take long for number of positive tests to increase if opening goes a step to far.

On the plus side, the number of deaths continue to decline nationwide, and remain steady in states where positive tests are on the rise.

June 26, 2020 at 10:41 PM

Bad case scenario: (i´m not going to call it worst case, as there is always a worse one albeit i hope thats close to the upper end) when you enter a theme park in Florida right now every 4th person you meet got the virus. At those levels most of the risk reducing aspects of theme parks fall appart since you can get the critical virus load through different people.

Sounds crazy? Not that crazy: Active cases according to tests 100k now, multiply that with 10 for non discovered cases (considering high US death rates suggesting many undiscovered milder cases and the high number of positive tests, thats unfortunatly not that far out there as it sounds at first), double another time for the time lag in reporting (unfortunatly rather conservative) and then double again for demographics and carelesness of the average person who still goes to a theme park right now (more on the lower end hum?).

June 27, 2020 at 1:28 AM

@TwoBits: There are concerns but Pritzker has been on top of this a lot and I doubt he'd be going ahead with Phase 4 if he wasn't confident. He's proven he's willing to extend shelter orders despite backlash and most in my area holding to masks/distancing well.

June 27, 2020 at 5:04 PM

Being a Florida resident I can verify the major problem is that so many people refuse to wear masks or stay 6 ft apart. Also there are a lot of people who think the virus is real but aren't wearing masks because they are uncomfortable and inconvenient and would rather take the risk. I don't know how you fix that, places have to be open you can't keep the economy closed forever, but for this reason I think the problem is inevitably getting worse before it gets better. Businesses in general don't want to be the police and kick people out if they refuse to wear a mask but I think more and more are feeling damned if you do damned if you don't. There's also no excuse for this because we've known about masks and social distancing since before everything started to re-open, its really all about apathy.

I think Disney and Universal are doing a good job trying to prevent those people from coming to their parks but the media narrative in general is that red states have no rules, so Florida has become the destination for people who want to vacation and not think about coronavirus.

June 27, 2020 at 11:05 AM

Being a Florida resident with an extensive background in indoor air quality, HVAC and ventilation - I am extremely concerned about the under-ventilated nature of many of our buildings. This, at a time when we need more ventilation, not less. Unfortunately, increasing ventilation isn't easy or cheap in Florida's extremely humid climate.

Surprisingly, theme parks are one of the places where ventilation is typically well addressed with dedicated outdoor air equipment. It isn't magic that allows those doors to stay open all day during the summer without condensation. It is very expensive dedicated outdoor air equipment.

June 28, 2020 at 10:36 AM

Absent a very serious change in Florida's infection trajectory (that likely isn't scientifically possible, given the delay between changed behavior and slowed transmission), it's not going to happen. There's no way they are going to risk a 325 INFECTED IN DISNEY SUPER-SPREADER EVENT headline.

I have many friends in Europe, and watching their social media feeds return to normal is so depressing. Some are throwing a music festival in September, which has now become a realistic target for them, because Europe and its leaders did the sensible thing and can now continue their lives. Here in America, meanwhile, my kids and I are staring down how many more months in a quarantined jail? Three more months? Six more months? NINE more months?

We play the Disneyland board game once a week. On a hike yesterday we saw a real-life waterfall and all agreed it reminded us of the beginning of Radiator Springs Racers. We're losing it!

June 28, 2020 at 10:55 AM

@thecolonel: Well, not all of Europe given the mess the UK was to the point their own prime minister nearly died because he brushed it off as no concern. And, of course, Italy.

But yes, many of them were smart and strident with Germany a case study in how to effectively contain it. Yet UK and Italy sadly took it too lightly to help it spread more.

It can be frustrating as I mentioned Illinois reopening indoor dining and gyms, etc and Northeast doing better to show how a concentrated and coordinated effort could have been better over folks whining on "masks are tyranny" and such. I shudder to think on how future generations are going to judge us for this.

June 28, 2020 at 11:52 AM

@mikew Sure, agreed, places in Europe could have done better, but as a general matter they are on the right trajectory, downward. Our rates are up 65% in the last 14 days, the quarantine was meaningless.

What's the difference between us and them? Interesting article in the Washington Post today that puts the blame firmly where it should be, on Fox News and GOP disinformation. A third of Americans believe a counterfactual reality because that's what they've been repeatedly told. The GOP/Fox have tens of thousands of easily avoidable deaths on their hands. Billions in lost income; months in forced prison; months of lost school; months of no hugs from grandma. All of that is exactly, precisely the GOP/FOX's fault.

June 28, 2020 at 6:10 PM

MikeW you need to get your facts right, the uk has compared no worse than many other countries in europe, certainly no worse than france, italy, spain, portugal and others. Belgium is far worse for example. you need to take into account population numbers and also the way countries report (some countries in europe don’t include care home deaths - actually the uk and usa does. france and spain at least don’t.) it is fair to say germany has performed better but they are the exception. please get the facts right.

June 29, 2020 at 8:56 AM

Waiting on the email to Annual Passholders offering us the option to get a full refund on the time remaining on our passes. I already called to say I wanted a partial refund instead of an extension, but I don't think we're going to be getting what we actually paid for in the near future. I'll take a refund of the remainder of my pass (mid-March to early November) and buy again in the future when things settle down.

July 1, 2020 at 8:51 AM

Our governor is disliked fot a lot od reason by a lot of people (Illinois), but he is doing the COVID phases correctly. I applaud him for not caving to pressure to reopen quickly.

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