ORLANDO, Fla. - As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Florida, Orange County leaders say their strike teams were out checking bars this weekend for safety protocols and the results were not good.
“It feels like the data is in a pressure cooker and it’s about to go off,” said Orange County Health Officer Dr. Raul Pino.
A grim warning from health officials: Coronavirus cases are going up and now is the time to hunker down on CDC guidelines to prevent the spread.
But, Orange County leaders say some businesses aren’t following those procedures or the local mask mandate.
“Our strike teams found no masks, no social distancing, no hand sanitizers and no disinfectant at every one of the bars visited,” said Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings.
Demings says the county strike teams visited 11 bars Saturday night, three near UCF and eight in Downtown Orlando.
All were found not in compliance.
“In addition, some of the members of our team were insulted by the patrons and I’m told that some of the bar owners were less than cooperative,” Demings said.
Residents say they’re not surprised by this, but they are frustrated.
“I’ve definitely seen some videos of places that host events where they say masks required but people are dancing with no mask on,” said Donna-lee Knuerr, of Orlando.
“We just got to keep our distance and don’t go to those businesses,” Scott Byers said.
Demings says due to an executive order from the governor, local governments cannot penalize individuals for failing to follow basic COVID safety rules.
He says they may be able to go after businesses, but they haven’t done that yet.
“We’re simply trying to keep our bars open. Perhaps we can learn from the cautionary tales of other metro areas where bars are being closed,” Demings said.
The 11 bars found to be out of compliance are: Knight’s Pub, Knight’s Library, Infyniti Knight Club, Elixir, The Basement Orlando, The Office Orlando, Saddle Up, Gilt, The Treehouse Orlando, Celine Nightclub and The Attic Orlando.
FOX 35 reached out to the listed businesses. The manager at Infyniti Knight Club says the strike team did visit Saturday, but they weren’t open to the public at the time. He says he doesn’t know why they were listed as not compliant.
No other businesses responded to FOX 35's request for comment.