ORLANDO, Fla. — The bars are open, the bowling alleys are spraying their shoes and retail stores can operate on full blast.
What You Need To Know
- Bars, movie theaters, bowling alleys can reopen at 50% capacity
- Social Distancing, sanitizing must continue
- RELATED: Read the full details of Reopening Phase 2
Phase 2 of the governor’s plan to open to state went into effect Friday, allowing many businesses to reopen or expand capacity for the first time in months.
- Bars, movie theaters, bowling alleys, concert halls and arcades can open at 50 percent capacity
- Retail businesses and gyms can operate at full capacity
- Restaurants can operate at full capacity in outdoor dining spaces, and allow customers at bars
- Groups of 50 or less can now gather
Everyone must follow sanitation and social distancing rules.
At the Crossroads Tavern in Bunnell, customers bellied up to the bar for the first time since St. Patrick’s Day. Since then, the owners had to furlough all seven of their employees as they waited for the governor’s call to re-open.
“I felt like an elephant has been basically smothering us for the last two and half months with no revenue coming in and out, bills still coming in,” said Janice Botempo, a co-owner of Crossroads Tavern.
While they can now only open at 50 percent capacity, the owners are thrilled to welcome back their employees and their customers.
“It is one of the happiest days for us in a long long time,” said Marc Catoggio, another co-owner of Crossroads Tavern.
Officials: Don't Stop Social Distancing
While businesses are ecstatic, government leaders are still warning people to continue social distancing and sanitizing on their own.
Seminole County, for instance, rescinded its social distancing order on Friday, saying it was no longer needed. The county encouraged residents to continue wearing masks, keeping a safe distancing and washing their hands though.
Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings also said people needed to continue to take precautions.
"While it is great news seeing our business community and our attractions get back to work, we will still be in the middle of a pandemic," Demings said.
New cases of coronavirus have risen steadily since June 1 — over 3,000 new cases reported in the last three days. Many of the new cases are in South Florida or Tampa-area counties, although new cases have popped up in Central Florida as well.
CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield say he was concerned that people were not taking the pandemic seriously.
“We’re very concerned that our public health message isn’t resonating,” Redfield said during a Congressional hearing Thursday. “We continue to try to figure out how to penetrate the message with different groups.”
Even within the phase 2 reopening plan, seniors and people at higher health risk are told to continue avoiding groups and staying home.
"We Still Need to Act Like We're Still in the Crisis"
In Kissimmee, local businesses are reopening, but they're also telling the public how they can stay safe.
Now that restaurants can use their bars, Jackie Espinosa, the owner of El Matador, said she can fit 15 people at their bar but will only be seating four at a time. Espinosa said the virus continues to be a threat and she will treat it that way.
“We still have to be very cautious. I think part of the challenge is that we still need to act like we’re still in the crisis,” Espinosa said. “As far as we handle our cleaning, our disinfecting and not treat it lightly cause this virus is still there.”
El Matador is providing informational pamphlets to customers who want to pick up a booklet, they’re an educational read on how to keep yourself and others well.