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St. Pete bars the Galley, Park & Rec and the Avenue Eat + Drink close after employees test positive for COVID-19

Management at all three say they won’t reopen until all employees have been tested for the coronavirus.
In this 2017 photo, a custom-made diving helmet beer tap at the bar of the Galley in St. Petersburg. [LUIS SANTANA | Tampa Bay Times]
Updated Jun 13

ST. PETERSBURG — Three downtown bars within a couple of blocks of one another announced Friday night that they’re temporarily closing after staffers tested positive for COVID-19.

The Galley at 27 Fourth St. N, Park & Rec DTSP at 100 Fourth St. S and the Avenue Eat + Drink at 330 First Ave. S posted Facebook messages alerting patrons that some employees were diagnosed with the novel coronavirus.

“Earlier this afternoon, we at The Galley learned that a few of our staffers have tested positive for COVID-19. All those exhibiting any symptoms were told to immediately see a doctor and obtain a test," read the Galley’s post. “We have quarantined those staffers for the recommended 14 days.”

The bar said it would re-open after all of its employees have been tested. But it did not reveal exactly how many employees tested positive.

Related: On a record-setting day, Tampa Bay sees more young people contracting COVID-19

The Facebook post said the Galley was closing “out of an abundance of caution,” and in part due to “the spike of cases here in downtown St. Pete."

“We believe we are doing the right thing in the interest of public health at this time, and will use this extra time to further deep clean and professionally sanitize our space,” the Facebook post read. “Any team members testing positive will be quarantined and will not return to work until a doctor has deemed it safe.”

Kyle Matheny and Devin Matheny play giant beer pong in the outdoor games area of Park & Rec on May 22, 2019, in downtown St. Petersburg.

Park & Rec DTSP said in a Facebook post that it became aware Friday “of a staff member who tested positive for Covid19. Out of an abundance of caution and to ensure the safety of our customers, we have temporarily closed Park & Rec DTSP to thoroughly sanitize our restaurant. Additionally, all of our staff is being tested for coronavirus.”

The brief post also said, “The safety of our staff and guests is of utmost importance; we appreciate your patience and understanding as we work through this. Thank you, St. Pete!”

Related: Florida adds 1,902 coronavirus cases, a new single-day high

The Avenue Eat + Drink also revealed on Facebook that one of its staffers tested positive:

“Earlier today, we became aware of a staff member who tested positive for (COVID-19.) Out of an abundance of caution and to ensure the safety of our customers, we have temporarily closed The Avenue to thoroughly sanitize our restaurant. Additionally, all of our staff is being tested for coronavirus.”

None of the bars offered a timeline for when they might reopen.

Trophy Fish, an outdoor dining establishment on Central Avenue, closed temporarily on Friday for a deep cleaning, then re-opened Saturday with precautions the restaurant has been practicing for months: Masked and gloved employees, seats spaced 6 feet apart and no congregating around the bar. Managers said they took this step because of the large numbers of reported COVID-19 cases in their ZIP code.

Gov. Ron DeSantis eased restrictions of restaurants and, later, some bars as part of his phased reopening of Florida. People can go to the gym, the hair salon, or to the beach. For the most part, masks are optional.

Late this week, coronavirus records were set in the United States and in Florida. An alarming spike in the state renewed fears of a second wave of the novel coronavirus pandemic. New data also shows that the virus is affecting more than just the immunocompromised and the elderly. In Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, public health officials say the number of positive cases in young people is on the rise.

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