AP

A healthcare worker and all 15 of her friends reportedly contracted Covid-19 after spending a night out together at a bar in Jacksonville, Florida as the state moved to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Erika Crisp, 40, told local news outlets she and her friends had been staying at home and social distancing because of the novel coronavirus — until they decided to go out earlier this month for drinks.

Florida allowed bars and restaurants to resume operations at 50 percent capacity the day before Ms Crisp and her friends visited Lynch’s Irish Pub on 6 June in Jacksonville Beach.

Ms Crisp told News4Jax she and her friends were “careless” and not wearing masks during their night out. More than a week later, the medical worker confirmed she was sick, short of breath and had tested positive for the novel virus, along with her friends.

Florida has seen an unprecedented spike in coronavirus cases after entering phase two of its reopening plans in June, which allows everything from gyms and amusement parks to hair and nail salons to reopen, so long as proper social distancing guidelines are followed.

With more than 76,000 infections in the state since the pandemic began and newly-recorded daily highs of over 2,500 cases on Saturday, some bars and venues in Florida have decided to close again to the public.

“We went out into a public place when we should not have,” Ms Crisp said about the night out. “I think we had a whole ‘out of sight, out of mind’ mentality. The state opens back up and said everybody was fine, so we took advantage of that.”

Ms Crisp added that she regret her decision to go along with the state’s reopening plans, telling the TV station: We should be wearing masks. We should be social distancing.”

She added: “It was too soon to open everything back up.”

Lynch’s reportedly spent $7,000 on a deep cleaning after the rash of infections were reported.

Keith Doherty, the bar’s general manager, also told the news outlet he had all 49 of his employees get tested for the novel virus. Seven of those employees tested positive.

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The bar was set to open back up with further sanitation efforts in place, including temperature checks for all employees, hand sanitiser stationed throughout the venue and frequent cleanings.

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