SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) -Florida bars and breweries can now reopen.
The restriction lifted Monday allows bars and breweries to open at 50 percent indoor capacity. Outdoor seating is allowed, but all seats must be socially distanced. Part of the reopening guidelines state that in order for a person to order a drink they must be seated.
“It’ll definitely make an impact, but heck, it’s much better than having the door locked,” Brian Klub, a bartender at Office Bar SRQ, said.
Klub is one of thousands of hospitality workers who was without a job these last six months, so this Monday is a day he’s been eagerly looking forward to.
“Seeing all the faces of my regular customers. I’ve really missed them all you know, and making the money to be able to pay my bills again. Get back on my feet,” expressed Klub.
However, it will be definitely be a different experience compared to the last time they were here. On top of having a limited amount of people, customers will have to abide by safety precautions from the moment they walk in.
“We check your temperature, then you sit down and you order your drink. You have to wear a mask when you walk in, but once you’re seated you can take it off. If you go to the bathroom or go play pool, you have to put the mask back on,” Ryan Leline, Co-Owner of Office Bar SRQ, explained to us.
Plus, there will be hand-sanitizers on every table, touchless additions on doors and menus, and every group will be six feet apart.
Even with this new normal, bar owners say every hour will be like a happy hour from now on.
“It feels good to be back. Just to have that excitement again. We’re following all the guidelines to make sure that it’s safe as possible for everyone to come out and enjoy themselves and get back to normal. I think we’re ready for it, and I think everyone is smart enough to be ready and safe,” Leline said.
Office Bar SRQ Owner, Gina Pinto, said they have rearranged tables and blocked off parts of the bar so that people can socially distance themselves. Office Bar SRQ also will be taking bar goers temperatures and counting how many people are walking through the door.
“I think people will still have a great experience, I think it will still be normal. So they can’t stand at the bar three deep, that’s okay that’s fine. We all have to adapt to the world we live in right now and I’m fine with that as a bar owner and I think that our customers and our patrons will be fine with that as well,” Pinto said.
Bars and breweries in Florida have been closed since mid March. In June they were allowed to reopen, however an executive order forced them to shut down just a few weeks after reopening because of an increase in COVID-19 cases.