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Phase 2 is in Full Swing: What Does That Mean for the Dining Scene?

Business is basically back to normal—but keep wearing your masks and washing your hands.

BY June 16, 2020
Restaurants, like The Local in Naples, can again seat guests at the bar. Photo by Nixon Mae Photography

*6/26/20 UPDATE* Effective immediately, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation is suspending on-premises consumption of alcohol at bars statewide.

When Governor DeSantis’s latest executive order to affect the food and beverage industry took hold on June 5, two of the final categories of holdouts were given the green light to reopen: “bars, pubs & taverns” and “entertainment businesses.”

So your favorite watering hole is not only able to be up and running (whether it has is up to its management), but the ground rules are that bars are allowed to serve at 50 percent capacity inside and 100 percent capacity outside—but all patrons must be seated and social distancing norms must be followed.

The decree has an effect on restaurants, too, as bar-top seating is now an option again.

If you’re wondering what “entertainment businesses” encompasses, that loose category includes anything from cinemas to bowling alleys to concert spaces, and all are allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity.

As with past executive orders for Florida’s reopening, there are not specific rules for mask and glove use (nor any compulsory requirements for businesses to report infections to the Department of Health); a full list of official mandatory measures and best practices for restaurants from the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation can be found here, but many restaurants are going above and beyond. Nearly all in Southwest Florida are adhering to CDC guidelines and have employees wearing masks, with some doing routine temperature checks before shifts.

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