Virus Outbreak Florida

A man covers his nose with his shirt, left, as Luis Negron, a Miami Beach code compliance officer, right, talks to him about wearing a protective face mask amid the coronavirus pandemic, Friday, July 24 on Ocean Drive in Miami Beach, Fla. Masks are mandated both indoors and outdoors in Miami Beach.

ORLANDO — Florida’s top business regulator said Saturday that he planned to set up meetings with bar owners to discuss how they can reopen their businesses again safely, as the Sunshine State surpassed New York State in the total number of coronavirus cases.

Halsey Beshears, secretary of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, said he planned to start setting up meetings with owners of bars and breweries across the state later this week to discuss how they can reopen without spreading the virus.

Late last month, Florida banned alcohol consumption at its bars, for the second time this year, in response to a spike in the number of coronavirus cases.

“We will come up with a Safe, Smart and Step-by-step plan based on input, science and relative facts on how to reopen as soon as possible,” Beshears tweeted.

Last week, members of Florida’s craft brewing industry sent a letter to Beshears and Gov. Ron DeSantis, warning that almost a third of the 320 craft breweries in Florida could be forced to go out of business in the upcoming weeks if the restriction on on-site consumption continues.

“The health of our community is paramount, but it cannot be at the life savings of hundreds of entrepreneurs, the livelihood of thousands of families and the majority of an entire industry,” the letter said.

The Florida Department of Health reported 872 resident deaths over the past week, or an average of 124 people per day. The total number of cases also went up 73,808 over the past week.