STATEWIDE — Bars were shut down along with most other businesses when the COVID-19 pandemic began to ramp up in Florida. Then, bars across the state were closed again on June 16, just weeks after they reopened.
More specifically, they were banned from selling alcohol for consumption at their establishments.
It was done by executive order, but now that order is being rescinded.
The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DPBR) announced Thursday that bars will be allowed to open on Monday, September 14 at 50 percent capacity.
“In meetings with hundreds of owners of bars and breweries across the state, I’ve heard their stories of struggle, and I’ve observed their serious commitment to making health and safety a continuing priority in their businesses,” DBPR Secretary Halsey Beshears said in a statement.
“It’s time that we take this step, and it’s vital that we start moving forward with this sector of our hospitality industry who have endured one of the toughest paths for sustaining a business during this pandemic.”
“I’m excited,” David Marslack said. He’s the co-owner of Jwags in St. Petersburg.
“We’ve waited so long, and after being beat up and pushed around this long, and we just had to accept it.”
One business owner who sat in on roundtable discussions with the governor said the entire industry in Florida was about to collapse.
“My very sincere concern was one that, as an industry – brewery industry, let alone hospitality – that we were concerned that we had two weeks, maybe three weeks left,” L.J. Govoni from Big Storm Brewing Co. said.
“So, I think this falls in line with that same timeline of when we had to get open.”