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3 St. Pete bars shut down temporarily after staff members test positive for COVID-19

Pinellas County

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – Three bars in Downtown St. Petersburg have closed temporarily after some of their employees tested positive for coronavirus.

They are The Galley at 27 4th St. N, Park and Rec DTSP at 100 4th St. S. and the Avenue Eat + Drink at 330 1st Ave. S.

“We are people over profit,” the owner of the Galley Pete Boland told 8 On Your Side. “If it was the other way around things would be a lot different.”

Boland said some of his employees reported they were not feeling well earlier in the week.

“We immediately told them not to come into work, go see a doctor, go get a test and those tests started coming in Thursday and Friday,” Boland said.

Four positive results prompted Boland to close his tavern for the time being. He said his infected employees have mild symptoms and they are self-isolating for the recommended two weeks.

“Due to these recent events, and the spike of cases here in Downtown St. Pete, and out of an abundance of caution, we are shutting down The Galley temporarily,” Boland wrote in the announcement on The Galley DTSP Facebook page Friday night.

The Galley stayed open for takeout only during the stay-at-home order, so this is the first time the bar and restaurant has closed during the pandemic.

Boland said the response from his customers has been “a lot of gratitude for our being honest and forthright we’re not trying to deceive anybody or hide or conceal anything.”

He told 8 On Your Side the plan is for his entire team to be tested for the virus, even his employees who aren’t showing any symptoms.

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman reacted on Twitter by posting: “All restaurant, bars in St. Pete that have had an employee test positive should follow the lead of these places. Shut down, allow for contact tracing, test all employees, and reopen when safe.”

Park and Rec DTSP and the Avenue Eat + Drink shared the same post on their Facebook pages Friday.

“The safety of our staff and guests is of utmost importance; we appreciate your patience and understanding as we work through this,” their posts said in part.

These temporary bar closings come as Florida health officials reported a new single-day record increase Saturday for positive COVID-19 cases.

Recently, bay area leaders including Mayor Kriseman have raised concerns about more young people testing positive for the virus.

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