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Friday, March 24, 2023

Order shutting down bars won’t stop alcohol sales at Marion County restaurants

An order Friday to stop serving alcohol at bars across the state due to a spike in COVID-19 cases will have an effect on Marion County – but it won’t stop area residents from going out for a drink.

The mandate, which came from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation via Twitter, effectively turned off the taps at all Sunshine State bars and taverns following an increase of 8,942 Coronavirus cases from Thursday to Friday. But it stopped short of halting the sales of alcohol and consumption inside restaurants.

DeSantis allowed bars to reopen on June 5 as Phase Two in his reopening plan. When he made the announcement on June 3, there were 58,764 cases of COVID-19 being reported in Florida. On Friday, that tally stood at 112,960.

In a Friday press conference, DeSantis continued to point out that the majority of new cases being reported across the state are among younger, asymptomatic patients. But he also said those younger people can easily pass it along to their parents or grandparents, among others.

DeSantis also said the order to shut down bars came because of “widespread noncompliance” to social distancing orders in those establishments across the state. He continued to oppose enacting a statewide mask rule and said local communities that decide to enact those will have to figure out to how to enforce them.

He said he doesn’t believe the idea of selectively prosecuting people for not wearing masks will work. Instead, he added, he’d prefer to see “consistent messaging” that lets people know how to protect themselves and others from the potentially deadly virus.