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Most Florida bars can reopen at 50% capacity today

Coronavirus

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Happy hour just got happier.

The Department of Business and Professional Regulation says bars in Florida can reopen at 50% capacity Monday.

It’s a day many have been waiting for. The Hub in downtown Tampa got a head start on reopening day, opening the bar up at midnight, and shutting it down at 3 a.m.

Drinking holes were first shut down at the beginning of the pandemic. After a major spike in coronavirus cases in June, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation ordered all bars to shut down. This devastated bar owners across the state who called the bad actions of a few detrimental to those who were trying to follow social distancing rules.

Some owners got creative by adding food to their menus to keep people coming.

“When the DPBR shut all bars down, we actually, my wife and I applied for a food license, and we didn’t think that we would get it. While we follow all health and safety protocols, we just went for it,” said George Courtney, owner of the Reboot Bar.

Starting Monday, bars can reopen indoor seating at half capacity. They can also operate outdoor seating and service with social distancing.

Gov. Ron DeSantis says reopening businesses does not lead to more people testing positive for the virus.

“Remember Disney reopened at the peak of our infections and what happened from there? It went down from that second week of July all the way until the present. So we are ready for what happens,” DeSantis said.

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