FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) – Customers returned to South Florida bars this weekend after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis gave the green light for companies to move to Phase 3 of the reopening, raising concerns about a possible resurgence of the coronavirus.
7News cameras captured a lively crowd at Fort Lauderdale’s Elbo Room on Saturday night.
“I’m so excited to be back at the bar,” said one man.
“This bar is great,” said one woman.
“It’s been a long time,” the man said.
Social distances were hardly ever observed and only a few patrons were seen wearing face masks.
Mike Penrod, owner of the Elbo Room, said his business was hit hard by the lockdown.
“Being closed for six months has been really difficult for the employees, the customers, the family. It was really hard, “he said.
DeSantis confirmed it was pushing the state to Phase 3 at a press conference on Friday, opening doors to bars and nightclubs and allowing restaurants to serve at full capacity.
But not everyone is in the mood for a party.
Debbie Nelms, who is visiting from Houston, said she was shocked at the speed at which Florida is moving.
“COVID is still very real,” he said.
The bars weren’t that busy in the Wynwood section of Miami on Saturday night.
The city of Miami Francis Suarez, which contracted the virus early in the pandemic and recovered, said it was not very happy with the governor’s decision.
“It’s making some of these decisions out of our ability to regulate them, going and opening bars and not letting us fine people or companies that are breaking the rules,” he said. “This, for me, is a significant handicap.”
To read the full DeSantis executive order, click here.
Anyone with questions and concerns about the coronavirus can call the Florida Department of Health 24-hour hotline at 1-866-779-6121.
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