Florida suspending any alcohol consumption at bars statewide due to rise in COVID-19 cases

TAMPA, Fla. (FOX 13) --  Effective immediately, Florida officials are suspending consumption of alcohol at bars statewide.

Halsey Beshears, secretery of the state's Department of Business & Professional Regulation, made the surprise announcement on Twitter this morning.

The news came minutes after Florida reported over 8,900 new coronavirus cases, a new record for daily increases. Officials have said the number of cases is surging among young adults, which could endanger those who are most vulnerable to the virus.

This week, emergency room doctors and hospital executives said they have enough hospital beds for the moment, but they expressed concern that a large increase in new patients appears to be beginning.

In commission meetings across Florida, local leaders have said while most businesses are following the capacity guidelines set by Governor Ron DeSantis, some haven't.

Earlier this week, he warned bars they would lose their liquor license if they didn't maintain 50% capacity. In Orlando, Knight's Pub had their license suspended after 13 employees and 28 customers tested positive for COVID-19. The bar is located near the University of Central Florida.

On Thursday, DeSantis said the state would not "roll back" amid the uptick in cases and he declined to endorce a statewide mask-wearing mandate. "We are where we are," he told FOX 13's Evan Axelbank.

Further details about the suspension of alcohol consumption have yet to be announced, including any impact on restaurants. The governor's office says an afternoon press conference is planned.

In Texas, the governor ordered all bars to close as the state also faces a rise in coronavirus cases.