Health Care Worker and 15 Friends Get Coronavirus After Going to a Bar: 'It Was Too Soon to Open'

After a night out in Jacksonville, Florida, all tested positive for coronavirus, along with seven employees

After months of social distancing and staying home, Erika Crisp was excited to go out with 15 of her friends to a newly reopened bar in Jacksonville, Florida. But she now regrets the decision after all 16 of them tested positive for the new coronavirus, COVID-19 — along with seven of the bar’s employees.

Crisp, 40, who is a care management assistant at a medical center, decided to go to Lynch’s Irish Pub with her friends on June 6.

“We’ve all been stuck indoors for months, being careful, social distancing, doing everything the right way,” she told News4Jax.

Crisp started feeling sick eight days ago, with shortness of breath. She tested positive for COVID-19, along with 15 of her friends.

“The only thing we have in common is that night at that bar,” she said.

After hearing about their cases, Lynch’s general manager Keith Doherty voluntarily closed the bar for a deep cleaning and had his 49 employees get tested for COVID-19, with seven of them testing positive.

Four other bars in the area also decided to close to clean their facilities. Doherty said that Lynch’s will reopen on Tuesday with additional safety measures in place — the employees will have to wear masks, anyone who enters the bar will have their temperature checked and hand sanitizer is available throughout the room.

COVID-19 cases are currently spiking in Florida, which is now seeing its highest daily totals of the entire pandemic. On June 6, when Crisp and her friends went to Lynch’s, new cases totaled 1,270. By June 13, Florida hit a high of 2,581 cases.

Crisp said that she and her friends should have been more cautious.

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

Crisp said she learned from this experience, and that the state should not have reopened.

“We should be wearing masks. We should be social distancing,” she said. “It was too soon to open everything back up.”

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