Food News

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

Bars in South Florida will remain closed as most of the state reopens June 5.
Bars in South Florida will remain closed as most of the state reopens June 5. Photo courtesy of Blue Shell Media
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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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times. She has been featured on Cooking Channel's Eat Street and Food Network's Great Food Truck Race. She won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature about what it's like to wait tables.
Contact: Laine Doss