A group of 16 friends tested positive for the coronavirus after a night out at a bar, and now they are warning other people to take the pandemic seriously. Three of the friends appeared on CNN's Cuomo Prime Time this week to share their story, revealing the extent of their illnesses and their fears about re-opening. They said that they now feel "foolish" for going out.
Erika Crisp, Kate Layton and Dara Sweatt all went out to a bar in Florida as the state began re-opening its businesses and public spaces. They were part of a group of 16 friends meeting up for the first time since the pandemic began, and every single one of them got sick. They all tested positive for COVID-19, and it later turned out that seven staff members at the bar, as well as other customers, had contracted the virus as well.
The group's night out was in celebration of a friend's birthday, and it took place on Saturday, June 6. Crisp works as a nurse, yet she told Cuomo that she believed it was safe to go out since the governor, mayor, and other local officials were encouraging people to do so.
Seven workers at a Florida bar and a group of 16 friends who were out for a night of fun — all tested positive for coronavirus. One person says it was a “mistake” and another tells CNN’s @ChrisCuomo that “we want to raise awareness” about the virus. https://t.co/0UEzCz6H9Y pic.twitter.com/FoiI6aYjxX— Cuomo Prime Time (@CuomoPrimeTime) June 17, 2020
Their story has gone viral since Crisp first shared it on Facebook, earning a spot on local news broadcasts, local newspapers and finally getting picked up by Cuomo. According to a report by NBC News, Crisp did identify the bar as Lynch's Irish Pub, which seemed to have a particularly fierce outbreak on that night. "No, we did NOT bar hop," Crisp said. "It was the ONLY bar my group of people went to [and] it was the only time I saw them." Speaking to WTLV, Layton added: "I do regret going out that night."
Lynch's was closed for a deep-cleaning after the outbreak, along with other local establishments. Some of those infected are saying that it may not be worth the risk of going out at all. This calls into question the push to re-open in so many states, where proponents say that the economy cannot survive lockdown for any longer. With staff and customers severely ill, a place like Lynch's may not be much better off than it was during the stay-at-home order.
Florida allowed bars to re-open beginning on June 5, provided they restricted themselves to 50 percent of their usual capacity. Still, according to Crisp and her friends, no one inside was wearing a face mask, nor were other precautions being observed. Sweatt told Cuomo that the night seemed to maintain its normalcy with the mantra: "out of sight, out of mind."
"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 [and] you can do with it what you will," Crisp wrote on Facebook. "I encourage everyone to be considerate of others."