State to order bars shut for 30 days

Restaurants told to cut capacity amid COVID-19

The normally festive St. Patrick’s Day took on a very somber note Tuesday as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis planned a 5 p.m. press conference to issue an order for bars to close for 30 days, multiple media outlets were reporting.

Bars are being defined as establishments where more than 50 percent of sales are from alcoholic beverages.

Restaurants will be told to reduce capacity by 50 percent and have a six foot separation between groups of customers.

Takeout and delivery are already being urged nationally to cut down on the community spread of the virus.

The CDC is recommending that groups be limited to no more than 10 people and DeSantis wants that to apply to Florida beaches. That contrasts with many beaches being filled with spring breakers last week.

The elderly are particularly vulnerable. Two residents of the Atria Willow Wood assisted living facility in the 2800 block of West Commercial Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale have died from the virus, Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis announced.

As of Tuesday morning, there were 192 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus in Florida, including non-residents, with six deaths. Broward County led the state with 43 cases followed by 32 in Miami-Dade County and Palm Beach and Volusia counties with nine each.

Cities are free to take even further action than what the governor ordered.

In Fort Lauderdale, gyms, movie theaters, bowling alleys and video arcades will close for 30 days

The city of Miami ordered all entertainment establishments and non-essential businesses be closed at 11:59 p.m. until further notice.

The following types of entertainment businesses within Miami will be closed, effective at 11:59 p.m. March 17 until further notice:

  • All alcohol service establishments that do not serve food, including bars, nightclubs and lounge. Bars that serve food may continue to do so for takeout only.
  • All dine-in restaurants, but restaurants may sell food for takeout/delivery/drive-thru on a 24-hour basis. Proprietors must establish social distancing measures for patrons waiting in line
  • All entertainment venues, including movie theaters, live performance venues, bowling alleys and arcades
  • All gyms and fitness centers

The following institutions and businesses are not affecting by the order: grocery stores, food banks, pharmacies; and commissaries, cafeterias and restaurants located entirely within hospitals, nursing homes or similar facilities.

Kevin Gale
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