Swirlery Wine Bar in Orlando’s SoDo district will stop serving drinks onsite and return to retail-only operations immediately because of the “unfortunate significant rise in COVID-19 cases” in Florida.
An announcement on social media Saturday evening said the move was a “precautionary measure” and that “staff have not been involved with recent cases.”
The past week was Florida’s worst for new cases since the start of the pandemic, with the state reporting over 21,000 new infections from last Sunday to today.
Digress Wine in College Park announced a two-day closure starting today after a customer reported symptoms of COVID-19.
A social media post says all staff members will be tested “out of an abundance of caution,” though none are experiencing symptoms. The business will also be deep cleaned.
Bars in Florida were allowed to start serving drinks again on June 5, after eleven weeks of coronavirus restrictions.
Swirlery and Digress are both featured in Orlando Wine Blog’s UnWineding podcast, which is following three area wine professionals through the COVID-19 crisis.
In the latest episode, Swirlery’s co-owner Melissa McAvoy said the virus started hitting home for her last week, when acquaintances who work in downtown bars and clubs started getting sick.
“That feels a lot closer than we’ve felt this experience throughout these whole three months. I’d never really heard of anyone I know here in Orlando that was actually testing positive,” she said, “and then you see the data to go along with it – it’s just alarming.”
Digress Wine’s owner Rob Chase said his customers were eager to come back when he reopened, with many asking when wine tastings and classes might resume.
“I can’t even tell you how rewarding it was to allow people to come in,” he said. ““It’s a hard position to be in. I don’t want anybody to get sick … but I don’t wanna close again.”