APTOPIX Virus Outbreak Florida

Kelli Rizza cleans the bar before at McSorley's Beach Pub on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, in Fort Lauderdale Fla.

(The Center Square) – Florida is suspending the consumption of alcohol at bars, effective immediately.

Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation Secretary Halsey Beshears made the declaration Friday on Twitter.

"Effective immediately, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation is suspending on premises consumption of alcohol at bars statewide," Beshears tweeted.

The announcement came Friday, shortly after the Florida Department of Health reported 8,942 new coronavirus cases, breaking Wednesday's single-day record of more than 5,500 new cases.

According to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center, the percent of positive tests in Florida is 13.4 percent and trending up.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has scheduled a COVID-19 news conference for 2 p.m. EDT Friday.

Regional Editor

Jason Schaumburg is an award-winning, veteran editor who has been a journalist for more than 20 years. He spent a decade as the top editor in three northern Illinois newsrooms for Shaw Media and Pioneer Press.