Photo courtesy the Office/Facebook
It was an eventful Saturday night in Orlando as Orange County's coronavirus "strike teams" visited a number of local bars last weekend and found many not in compliance with the county's COVID-19 protocols.
Eleven downtown and UCF-area establishments were found to be not enforcing safety protocols or precautionary measures.
“Our strike teams found no masks, no social distancing, no hand sanitizers and no disinfecting at every one of the bars visited,” said Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings during Monday's Orange County Government Coronavirus Update
"In addition," continued Demings, "some of the members of our team were insulted by the patrons [Ed. note: That's ice-cold]
and I'm told that some of the bar owners were less than cooperative."
The downtown Orlando bars in question were Elixir, the Basement, the Office, Saddle Up, Gilt, the Treehouse, Celine and the Attic. The UCF-area bars were Knight’s Pub, Knight Library and Infinity Nightclub.
A few of these names are familiar. Knight's Pub made the news
back in June for getting its liquor license temporarily pulled due to violating statewide COVID protocols at the time.
And Gilt has gotten some negative attention from EDM news outlets for throwing shows in October (Ghastly)
and June (Dirt Monkey)
that had zero social distancing measures in place.
So what happens next? Well, nothing. Neither the strike team nor county leaders can issue anything in the way of fines or corrective measures, thanks to Gov. Ron DeSantis' executive order
which essentially takes away the powers of local governments to impose COVID-19 rules or policies stricter than those of the state. And for Ron DeSantis, Florida is open for business no matter what.
The only thing the strike teams can do really is appeal to the businesses to be more careful following safety protocols, while the county tries to educate the public on the very real danger in the rising numbers of COVID-10 cases statewide.
"It feels like the data is in a pressure cooker and it's about to go off," said Florida Health Department epidemiologist Raul Pino during Monday's briefing, striking a much more foreboding tone than usual.
"We very well may surpass 53,000 cases [in Orange County] this week, that's my projection" said Demings.
And the numbers just keep going up and up.
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