Florida’s top business regulator said Saturday that he planned to set up meetings with bar owners to discuss how they can reopen their businesses again safely.

Halsey Beshears, secretary of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, said he planned to start setting up meetings with owners of bars and breweries across the state later this week to discuss how they can reopen without spreading the virus.

Florida Bar owners insist that they are not the problem. Despite many bar owners following all the necessary guidelines after being allowed to reopen on June 6th, bars were ordered to suspend all alcohol sales for on premises consumption just three weeks later on June 26th.

While Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and DBPR Secretary Halsey Beshears, attribute the rise in new COVID-19 cases in Florida largely to young people gathering in crowded bars and bar owners not complying with safety guidelines, bar owners disagree.

A law suit filed against the state argues that bar owners did take necessary steps to operate safely and followed all of the rules. Many of these business owners are in danger of losing their life’s work and they feel as though they have been unfairly targeted by the state.

According to the Florida Department of Health, Division of Disease Control and Health Protection Statistics, the number of new cases in Florida stood at just over 40,000 during the final week that bars were allowed to sell alcohol for on premises consumption.

That number has grown consistently each week since restricting bars from selling alcohol, showing a 30% increase the first week after closing bars for a second time. The second week, the number of new cases grew by 37.5%, the third added 51.1% more new cases over the final week of bars operating and the most recent week saw a 47.7% increases over the benchmark.

The number of new cases of COVID-19 in Florida rose by as many as 82,166 new cases, three weeks after shuttering bars, compared to 40,182 when bars were operating and bar owners want to know why they are being singled out as the cause of cases increasing in Florida.

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