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Gov. DeSantis announces Florida bars and movie theaters can reopen under Phase 2

This brings Bay County’s total COVID-19 cases to 83 and total non-resident cases to two. (MGN)
This brings Bay County’s total COVID-19 cases to 83 and total non-resident cases to two. (MGN)(WJHG)
Published: Jun. 4, 2020 at 10:39 AM CDT
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Gov. Ron DeSantis says bars, movie theaters and other entertainment businesses in Florida can reopen as the state continues to ease COVID-19 restrictions.

The governor made the announcement Wednesday afternoon as he outlined Florida's Phase Two for reopening its economy during a press conference at the NBC Sports Grill & Brew on the Universal Studios CityWalk.

Phase Two goes into effect Friday, and applies to bars and clubs in all but the three southeast Florida counties with the highest rates of COVID-19: Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.

The bars will be able to operate at half capacity inside and full capacity outside. Patrons may only receive service if seated. Restaurants may allow bar top seating with social distancing as well.

Bars and clubs have been closed since March 17. The governor shut them down as one of the first steps in what became a statewide shutdown of many businesses and activities and a stay at home order.

The governor also announced movie theaters, bowling alleys and auditoriums may reopen at 50% capacity. And he said personal services businesses, including tattoo shops and massage parlors, may reopen while following health department guidelines.

Additionally, DeSantis says retail stores and gyms can operate at full capacity with social distancing under Phase Two.

In announcing the reopenings Wednesday, the governor cited “really good trends” in coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, and patients on ventilators statewide.

Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties will stay in Phase One for now. The governor says those counties can seek approval to enter Phase Two with a written request from the county mayor or county administrator.

Gatherings of 50 or more people are still discouraged under Phase Two.

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