Health officials temporarily suspend liquor license of a bar near the University of Central Florida in Orlando after it is linked to over 150 coronavirus cases.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Tuesday that The Knight’s Pub was identified to have been in “flagrant violation” for failing to enforce social distancing protections in the state’s reopening guidelines, which resulted in 13 employees and 28 customers testing positive for coronavirus.
Health officer Dr. Raul Pino said in an interview that the Orange County health officials linked The Knight’s Pub to 152 Covid-19 cases.
The bar’s owner, Michael D’Esposito, claims that his establishment is being used as a “scapegoat”, and that he had been careful.
In a statement he posted on the bar’s Facebook page, the establishment reopened June 5, the managers had all surfaces disinfected and encouraged social distancing indoors and outdoors.
Two days after, a patron called in and claimed to have come down with Covid-like symptoms after visiting.
Immediately after, the pub cut staffing and “proactively arranged for our employees to be tested and disclosed our closure to the public.”
On June 8, staffing was reduced, and then the bar shut down completely the next day.
D’Esposito also called out the “false accounts of irresponsible business practices and the circulation of photos from 2019 to mislead the public in the time of COVID-19 are reckless and dangerous to the greater UCF area.”
“As the owner of The Knight’s Pub, I am disappointed in our state and local leaders’ vilification of a small business during these trying times,” he said.
The case comes amid the rising number of coronavirus cases across several states, and highlights growing concerns over enforcing public health rules as states continue reopening.
On Wednesday, Florida marked its highest number of new and confirmed cases in a single day with 5,511.