MIAMI (CBSMiami/CNN) — A group of 16 friends all tested positive for coronavirus after a night out at a recently reopened Florida bar.
Three members of the group, who spoke to CNN’s Chris Cuomo Tuesday, said they want to remind the public that the pandemic is not over yet.
“We want to raise awareness and get ahead of it,” Kat Layton told Cuomo. “We want to tell people it’s really not ready for what we thought it was ready for, it’s too soon.”
The group had gathered for a friend’s birthday at Lynch’s Irish Pub in Jacksonville Beach on June 6, the same weekend bars reopened in Florida. The bar was crowded, and no one was wearing masks.
“Standing there in front of those people, we knew we were pushing it,” Layton said.
At the time, the virus was “out of sight, out of mind” since they didn’t know anyone who had contracted it and they heard from their mayor and governor that everything was fine, Erika Crisp said. But within days, they started getting sick.
“Receiving the text messages that my friends were just boom, positive, boom, positive, boom, positive, back to back to back, it was overwhelming,” Dara Sweat told Cuomo.
Everyone in the group tested positive; and though some had flu like symptoms, none got seriously ill.
The women said they are confident they contracted the virus on that outing. Since then, they said, they have been messaged by strangers who also got sick after visiting the same bar that weekend.
They want others to be more cautious about taking advantage of looser restrictions.
“I feel foolish, it’s too soon,” Crisp said.
At least seven Pub employees also tested people positive for COVID-19 after the owner had them tested as a precaution. The owners says all seven who tested positive worked June 6 but believes a customer was the one who initially brought the virus in.
The pub was closed for deep cleaning and sanitization and will reopen with hand sanitizer stations and all customers and employees will be subject to temperature checks upon entry.
Though Florida is continuing to reopen from coronavirus restrictions, the state recorded a record number of new cases on Monday, according to the Florida Department of Health.
“No, we’re not shutting down, you know, we’re going to go forward. We’re going to continue to protect the most vulnerable. You know, we’re going to urge, continue to advise, particularly our elderly population to maintain social distancing, avoid crowds,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said.
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