Florida woman says she and 15 friends have coronavirus after night out at bar

A Florida woman says she and 15 of her friends have tested positive for coronavirus after they spent a night out together at a bar in Jacksonville Beach.

Erika Crisp, a 40-year-old health care worker, told local outlet News 4 Jax in an interview published Monday that the mass infections come after the group went to Lynch’s Irish Pub on June 6.

Crisp said the friends had been “doing everything the right way,” practicing social distancing and following lockdown guidances for months.

“And then the first night we go out, Murphy’s Law, I guess,” Crisp said. “The only thing we have in common is that one night at that one bar.”

Crisp says she regretted going to the pub to celebrate a friend’s birthday.

“I think we were careless and we went out into a public place when we should not have. And we were not wearing masks,” she said. “I think we had a whole ‘Out of sight, out of mind’ mentality. The state opens back up and said everybody was fine, so we took advantage of that.”

Crisp and two of her friends appeared this week on CNN’s “Cuomo Prime Time” with anchor Chris Cuomo, who previously was diagnosed with COVID-19, and spoke about their experience.

“Of course we’re regretful,” Kat Layton said. “We do feel foolish. Standing there in front of all those people, we knew we were pushing it.”

Layton said the friend group wanted to raise awareness that it is “too soon” to return from the pandemic to regular practices.

Keith Doherty, the general manager of Lynch’s, closed the bar on Friday after he learned that customers had tested positive.

He told News 4 Jax that the bar paid for 49 employees to take rapid COVID-19 tests and seven came back positive.

Doherty said he closed up for the weekend and paid $7,000 to have the building sanitized. The sudden re-closure for several days and deep-cleaning altogether cost him approximately $30,000.

“We can’t guarantee that people are not going to get sick because of the nature of this virus, but we’re going to keep them on top of what we can do to prevent things,” Doherty said.

Florida bars were allowed to reopen on June 5, as were vacation rentals and movie theaters at limited capacity.

Florida health officials this week reported a record-high number of new coronavirus infections, with 2,783 new cases on Tuesday. 

The city of Miami paused moving into the next phase of its reopening over concerns about rising new cases.

Tags Chris Cuomo Coronavirus coronavirus reopening Florida

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