FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) – Visitors returned to bars across South Florida this weekend after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis gave the companies the go-ahead to move into the third phase of reopening, and expressed concerns about a possible resurgence Coronavirus.
7News cameras captured a lively crowd in the Elbo Room in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday night.
“I’m so excited to be back at the bars,” said one man.
“This bar is amazing,” said one woman.
“It took a long time,” said the man.
Social distancing was rarely observed, and few patrons wore face masks.
Mike Penrod, who owns the Elbo Room, said his business was badly hit by the lockdown.
“Being closed for six months was very difficult for the employees, the customers and the family. It was really difficult, ”he said.
DeSantis confirmed that he was pushing the state into Phase 3 during a press conference Friday, opening the doors to bars and nightclubs, and allowing restaurants to serve at full capacity.
But not everyone is in a solemn mood.
Debbie Nelms, who is visiting from Houston, said she was shocked at how fast Florida was moving.
“COVID is still very real,” she said.
The bars in Miami’s Wynwood division weren’t that busy on Saturday night.
City of Miami Francis Suarez, who contracted the virus and recovered at the beginning of the pandemic, said he was not too happy with the governor’s decision.
“It takes some of those decisions out of our ability to regulate them, goes and opens bars and doesn’t allow us to punish people or companies for breaking the rules,” he said. “That is a significant handicap for me.”
Click here to read DeSantis’ full Executive Order.
Anyone with questions and concerns about the coronavirus can call the Florida Department of Health’s 24-hour hotline at 1-866-779-6121.
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