Texas and Florida clamped down on bars again Friday in the nation’s biggest retreat yet as a surge across the South and West sent the number of confirmed new coronavirus infections per day in the U.S. to an all-time high of 40,000.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered all bars closed, while Florida banned alcohol consumption at all such establishments. The two states joined the small but growing list of those that are either backtracking or putting any further reopenings of their economies on hold because of a comeback by the virus.
Abbott had pursued up to now one of the most aggressive reopening schedules of any state and had not only resisted calls to order the wearing of masks but had also refused until last week to let local governments take such measures.
“It is clear that the rise in cases is largely driven by certain types of activities, including Texans congregating in bars,” he said. “The actions in this executive order are essential to our mission to swiftly contain this virus and protect public health.”
Texas, reported more than 17,000 confirmed new cases in the past three days, with a record high of nearly 6,000 on Thursday.
The Florida agency that governs bars acted after the daily number of confirmed cases in the state neared 9,000, a record that was almost double the previous mark set just two days earlier.