Three US states have clamped down on bars and alcohol consumption again as the country’s daily number of coronavirus cases surged to an all-time high.
The hits just keep coming…
Bars in seven Californian counties have been ordered re-close immediately, reversing Governor Gavin Newsom’s mandates easing restrictions that have been in place for several months.
On June 28th Newsom ordered bars to shut in Fresno, Imperial, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, San Joaquin and Tulare as the US Department of Health reported a record rise in coronavirus cases. Bars in Contra Costa, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernadino, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Stanislaus or Ventura, which never re-opened, continue to be locked down.
Dr Sonia Angel, Director of the California Department of Public Health explained that the state’s action was the result of data showing escalating infection rates…
“We are actively monitoring Covid-19 across the state and working closely with counties where there are increased rates and concerning patterns of transmission.” Angel said. “Closing bars in these countries is one of a number of targeted actions counties are implementing across our state to slow the virus’ spread and reduce risk.
But California’s actions are not alone. Bars in Texas and Florida that had enjoyed easing restriction have seen worrisome infection rates spikes, leading governors to rethink their easements.
On June 24 Governor Greg Abbott responded to rising COVID-19 infection numbers by ordering Texas bars to close yet again. Under current restrictions, “outdoor gatherings of more than 100 people would also need approval from local officials,” according to the Drinks Business.
In Texas, lockdown measures were being eased from the start of May. In June, bars were allowed to operate at 50% capacity. The governor was very specific about his decision noting that the rise in cases was being driven by people heading to bars in large numbers.
“It is clear that the rise in cases is largely driven by certain types of activities, including Texans congregating in bars,” Abbott said.
And two hours after the Texas announcement, Florida followed a similar route banning the on-premise sale of alcohol throughout the state after the department of health recorded 8,942 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, topping the earlier record that week of 5,500.
Florida’s bars were only allowed to serve at 50% capacity when they reopened, with tables spaced six feet apart. The new restrictions prevent any venue that makes more than half of its sales from alcoholic beverages (read: bars) from serving them in-site. Florida restaurants are still allowed to serve alcohol to seated diners.
The states’ U-turn on easing lockdowns comes as UK bars, pubs and restaurants are preparing to open their doors again on July 4.