Local officials expressed cautious optimism Friday that the region’s bars, shuttered since COVID-19 cases spiked in June, would reopen responsibly Monday.
Florida’s top regulator Halsey Beshears announced Thursday evening that bars would be allowed to open in most of the state starting Monday at 50% capacity, a respite to an industry that has lost millions in revenue and, in some cases, seen businesses close permanently.
“At least in our community, ... I think that they’ll try really hard to do the right thing,” Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said. “If you want the bars to stay open, then you’ll have to behave in a way that allows them to stay open.”
The mayor said he’s spoken to downtown bar owners over a period of weeks and encouraged them to develop written plans and work with a team at Orlando Health on protocols in case Gov. Ron DeSantis' administration allowed them to begin pouring drinks again.