Four states have forced bars and a few other locations to close back up again amid spikes in coronavirus cases
In a move anyone on the internet with a brain could have anticipated, the states facing the greatest increases in coronavirus cases are now reversing their overly optimistic reopening plans. Arizona, Florida, California, and Texas have all walked back their reopening strategies and are now forcing some businesses including bars, gyms, and movie theaters to shut back down.
Arizona’s Governor Doug Ducey — who previously stated that he wouldn’t enforce masks because #liberty — just ordered bars, movie theaters, gyms, and water parks to close back down after reopening them in May. The recently shuttered businesses will stay closed for the next month. Also, who is going to a WATER PARK right now? Ugh. Just a few weeks ago, when Ducey saw that people were packing bars and nightclubs like they weren’t in a pandemic, he said, “What an Arizonan decides to do is up to them,” but he’s now seemingly reversed course on that philosophical decision as well and now — finally — is publicly encouraging social distancing and masks as the state is regularly reporting over 3,000 (today is 4,682) new COVID-19 cases per day.
Effective at 8:00 p.m. tonight, we are instituting a month-long pause on the operations of bars, gyms, movie theaters, waterparks and tubing rentals. This will help relieve stress on our health care system and give time for new transmissions to slow. 2/
— Doug Ducey (@dougducey) June 29, 2020
We must be clear-eyed. The next few weeks will be hard. But these steps combined with stepped-up compliance with public health guidance can make a difference, and we're grateful to Arizonans for their cooperation.
Wear a mask.
Be responsible. 8/8
— Doug Ducey (@dougducey) June 29, 2020
In California, Governor Gavin Newsom ordered bars and nightclubs (again, who is going to a nightclub right now!?!?) in seven major counties to close again indefinitely. In California, COVID-19 related hospitalizations have gradually increased day after day for the last two weeks, which led the governor to crack down on reopenings. And California’s most populous county, Los Angeles, has more coronavirus cases than any other county in the country (!), and Newsom has even threatened to put the entire county back on stay-at-home orders.
CA’s response to #COVID19 is based on science.
That’s why we asked counties that are experiencing high transmission and positivity rates to close down bars & toggle back re-openings.
We will continue to monitor counties across the state & take appropriate action when necessary.
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) June 29, 2020
In Texas, Governor Greg Abbott also shut down bars and is now forcing restaurants to only operate at 50% capacity. Not surprisingly, a number of bar owners have sued the governor. The bar shutdown comes as many Texas hospitals have reported crowded intensive care units and the state is reporting daily COVID-19 cases of more than 5,000 per day, up from the previous numbers of 2,000 per day.
Florida, however, took a different route, and instead of closing bars outright, the state just banned the sale of “on-premise” alcohol at bars, though restaurants could continue serving alcohol. Unclear if it’s working to slow the spread of coronavirus, because as one Tampa bar owner told CNN, “All they did was flip the switch. So now you’re going from a bar to a restaurant that acts like a bar, so you’re not diminishing the people that might get infected because all they’re doing is moving them to another location. None of this makes sense.” To be honest, all these states closing bars — and not restaurants — makes very little sense, but, what do I know.
Effective immediately, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation is suspending on premises consumption of alcohol at bars statewide.
— Florida DBPR (@FloridaDBPR) June 26, 2020
With states reversing their shutdowns, the Northeast enacting a quarantine on travelers from “hotspot states,” and the European Union banning Americans from vacationing overseas, it’s not out of the question to assume that we may all go back into some form of stay-at-home order sooner, rather than later.