Bars in Florida, Texas, and Arizona close after employees tested positive amid spike in new coronavirus cases

At Sea World Orlando, an invited guest has her temperature taken before attending a media preview on Wednesday, June 10, 2020, ahead of the formal reopening to guests on Thursday.

Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Several bars in cities like St. Petersburg, Florida, Austin, Texas, and Phoenix, Arizona, announced they were temporarily closing after employees tested positive for COVID-19. 

The closures come weeks after the states began reopening as some states record new climbs in infections and hospitalizations. 

Though Texas, which had been one of the first states to reopen early last month, announced its largest single-day increase in infections, it has no plans of halting its reopening process. 

Dr. Anthony Fauci spoke out this week to slightly quell concerns about a second wave of the novel coronavirus, which he said thanks to increased testing and other capabilities was “not inevitable.”

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Nightlife spots in some US cities have had to close after employees tested positive for the novel coronavirus as a rise in cases in several states raised concern for reopening plans.

Three bars in St. Petersburg, Florida are closing temporarily after some staff tested positive the Tampa Bay Times reported. None of the bars offered a timeline for when they might reopen as they sanitize the restaurants and test their employees, according to social media posts reported by the Times.

Similarly, nine bars and restaurants in and around Austin, Texas, and at least eight in the Phoenix, Arizona area announced they were temporarily closing after employees tested positive for COVID-19 in recent weeks.

The reports of shuttered nightlife spots in cities across the country come amid an alarming spike in new infections and hospitalizations due to the novel coronavirus as officials have aired their concerns with residents flocking to newly reopened public places without exercising caution that is still recommended by the CDC.

Though two months of lockdown and warm weather had many Americans itching to get back to normal life as early as possible, public health experts warned in May that reopening too early could have serious health consequences. 

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On May 1, Texas was one of the states to lead the charge of reopening businesses after coronavirus lockdown, allowing restaurants to operate at 25% capacity.

One month and a half later, Texas announced its highest number of new cases yet on June 12, the same week Austin reported a local rise in cases.

The Statesman reported that health officials in the city pointed to “risk-taking behavior” like ignoring recommendations to wear masks and social distance as responsible for the rise in cases.

“This disease has not gone away, despite what folks are seeing on social media and hearing on television,” Dr. Mark Escott, the Austin-Travis County health authority, told the Statesman.

Though more than 2,100 people in the state have been hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Friday, the state doesn’t plan to change its reopening plans.

The concerns in local case counts are at odds with national numbers in the US, where the number of cases has been generally declining, but are an expected part of reopening businesses in the US, Dr. Anthony Fauci told Canada’s CBC News, Reuters reported.

“We also as a whole have been going down with cases,” Fauci said. “But I think what you mentioned about some states now having an increase in the number of cases makes one pause and be a little bit concerned.”

Fauci told CNN on June 12 that the recent rises in several states were not necessarily indicative of a “second spike” of infections, and a seasonal resurgence was “not inevitable,” thanks to expanded resources like testing. 

“It is not inevitable that you will have a so-called ‘second wave’ in the fall or even a massive increase if you approach it in the proper way,” he said.

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