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Florida Bars Can Reopen on Friday, June 5 — But Not in Miami

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One month after announcing the first phase in his plan to reopen Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that the state would enter into Phase Two of his "Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step" guidelines.

Phase Two, which goes into effect this Friday, June 5, allows restaurants to open at full capacity, provided they adhere to current social-distancing and sanitation rules.

Phase Two also allows bars and pubs to open with diminished standing-room occupancy. Those rules permit operation at 50 percent capacity indoors and full capacity outdoors. In a press conference, DeSantis explained the new guidelines will require seating for all patrons.

"I mean, people go enjoy, have a drink — it's fine," the governor said. "I want to kind of not have huge crowds piling in, though."

Under Phase Two, restaurants may open their bar areas and serve drinks regardless of whether a customer orders food — as long as they're seated.

Movie theaters and bowling alleys may also open at 50 percent capacity, beginning Friday.

If you're already looking forward to having a drink with friends in Miami this weekend, though, you might as well put a cork in it for now.

Phase Two goes into effect in 64 of Florida's 67 counties. As with the initial implementation of Phase One, the order excludes Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach.

Similar to his April 30 announcement of Phase One, DeSantis said officials from the three South Florida counties may seek approval by submitting a plan through their mayor or county administrator.

The governor's reasoning: Miami-Dade and its neighbors to the immediate north logged more cases of COVID-19 than other counties in the state.

"They were hit a bit more severely than other parts of Florida," DeSantis said. "They've had some good trends in places like Broward, but they're on a little bit different schedule."

As of now, according to the office of Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos A. Giménez, there is no target date for reopening bars in Miami. Before making a decision, the mayor intends to meet with his restaurant-industry working group and medical experts. Only after analyzing the data and current conditions in Miami-Dade will the county plot out the next step.

Broward Mayor Dale Holness has not submitted any formal plans to Governor DeSantis to enter Phase Two, according to his office.

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