In Jacksonville Beach, Florida, one night out on the town appears to be a source of a coronavirus outbreak that may have infected multiple patrons and employees.
The manager of Lynch's Irish Pub, Keith Doherty, told NBC affiliate WTLV of Jacksonville on Monday that seven employees have tested positive for the virus as part of an outbreak he dates to June 6. Local health authorities have so far not confirmed the outbreak.
One patron that night, Erika Crisp, said on Facebook that she has tested positive for COVID-19 and that 10 of her friends who were with her the night of June 6 also have the virus. Four other tests were outstanding, she said over the weekend.
"No, we did NOT bar hop," the healthcare worker said. "It was the ONLY bar my group of people went to & it was the only time I saw them."
Another patron, Kat Layton, said 12 of 15 friends at Lynch's that night for a birthday celebration have tested positive.
"I do regret going out that night," Layton told WTLV.
The bar closed over the weekend for cleaning and reopened Tuesday. The venue has no information about the outbreak available on its website or Facebook page.
Three nearby alcohol establishments closed, but there was no public information on whether or not patrons or workers contracted the virus. One of them, the Mellow Mushroom, said the following on Facebook Tuesday: "In light of what has occurred over the last several days, we have chosen to shut our doors, professionally sanitize our building, and ask all our employees to get tested with results in hand prior to returning to work."
Fernando M. Meza, an operating partner of the two other venues, the Tavern and the Wreck Tiki Bar, said in a now unavailable post on Facebook that the closures were precautionary.
The moves follow a string of coronavirus-related closures in a region expected to host President Donald Trump in late August for his Republican National Convention nomination speech.
Following limits on nonessential businesses since spring, the state of Florida allowed bars in most counties to reopen June 5 at 50 percent capacity.
Lynch's Irish Pub publicized its half-capacity availability, with limited hours, last month on Facebook. WTLV reported that the venue had reopened in May under rules that allowed restaurants to resume business with limitations.
NBC News requested responses to this story from state health officials, Jacksonville Beach's mayor and bar manager Doherty but did not receive immediate replies.
On Facebook, bar patron Crisp said she believes the outbreak includes many more people who were out that night.
"So far I have personally been messaged by over 20 people I don’t even know who have now been tested positive that were there," she said. "I should have been more cautious. But alas, it is what it is. I have it, my friends have it, we can give you that info & you can do with it what you will. I encourage everyone to be considerate of others."