Wichita bars, nightclubs take precautions as COVID-19 cases increase

Published: Jun. 26, 2020 at 6:34 PM CDT
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One of the latest outbreaks in Kansas is linked to a Lawrence bar.

Douglas County health officials said Friday multiple people who went to

last week have now tested positive for COVID-19. Other patrons are now warned to monitor symptoms that may be linked to exposure.

Dr. Lee Norman, Secretary for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) said the state reported 1,000 news cases from Monday to Friday. That's the largest five-day period increase since the start of the pandemic.

KDHE said a lot of these cases are connected to bars and nightclubs.

"It's especially in bars and places where people are close together and then you throw in alcohol, loud chatter, coughing, and it's everywhere," said Dr. Norman. "And the sad part about is, of course, young people are not going to be as sick, they are taking it to nursing homes, where they work during the day time. They are taking it to grandma and grandpa's house on the Fourth of July weekend."

Some bars in Wichita are now stepping up precautions and screening and turning away customers if they show symptoms before they enter.

"They understand, obviously we can't point the finger at them and say you have the virus, but obviously a fever is a sign of a potential symptom of the virus," said Fever Night Life Manager Austin Henry.

The thermal camera will check temperatures.

Henry said bouncers have turned customers away for running a fever. He said it's all a part of the effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 as cases spike across the country.

"We're probably taking the most precautions, the reason for that is we're one of the largest downtown, like I said we have a 729 person capacity, and so just to make sure we are ensuring people's safety, I feel it's important," Henry said.

States around the nation are shutting down bars and clubs in hopes of slowing the spread of COVID-19. The governor of Texas ordered bars to close after a record high 5,996 positive tests was recorded on Thursday.

Florida banned alcohol consumption at its bars after its daily confirmed coronavirus cases neared 9,000, a new record that is almost double the previous mark set just two days ago.

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