Gov. DeSantis defends bars, says they are not the ‘boogeyman’
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a news conference during the new coronavirus pandemic, Thursday, May 14, 2020, in Doral, Fla. DeSantis has signed an executive order for the reopening of Miami-Dade and Broward counties on May 18. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Ron DeSantis  AP
Bars have gone without on-site consumption sales for nearly three months.

Gov. Ron DeSantis told reporters Friday he would be willing to discuss a new reopening plan with bars, but stopped short of suggesting that a reopening may happen anytime soon.

“We’re in a situation where we gotta get through this viral cycle,” DeSantis said, citing various indicators and positive COVID-19 trends. “So let’s just keep that going. Then, as we get over, we’ll see.”

The chance at a negotiation comes as bars and nightclubs enter their third consecutive month without the ability to sell alcohol for on-site consumption. The statewide closures have forced  many bars to close and many more to the brink of closure.

While DeSantis was anything but definitive on a timeline, he argued that bars should not be blamed for the state’s COVID-19 cases. To his point, DeSantis compared Orlando to Miami, where bars have been shut down since March yet still maintain the majority the state’s cases.

“So let’s just be clear about that, the places that have the biggest outbreaks did not have bars open at anytime since the pandemic started,” DeSantis said, adding: “I don’t think they should be the boogeyman or be blamed.”

On March 20, Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered bars and nightclubs to stop serving alcohol for on-site consumption as a way to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. That order was lifted, allowing for limited capacity in most of Florida on June 5, but Department of Business and Professional Regulation Secretary Halsey Beshears later reinstated the ban on June 26 citing an inability to properly enforce restrictions.

DeSantis said the order’s original intent was for bars to allow on-site consumption just as restaurants. He lamented, however, that a lack of adherence by bars to health guidelines made that impractical.

“That was the vision and that just wasn’t something that was followed,” DeSantis said. “So the Secretary went, he started to play whack-a-mole but then the reports were coming in from all over the state so he said, ‘you know what? We’re just gonna have to suspend for now.'”

Last week, Beshears began holding talks with bar owners across the state about ways to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The meetings came after craft brewers warned the order could cause more than 100 of the approximately 320 breweries in the state to permanently shut their doors.

Jason Delgado

Jason Delgado covers news out of the Florida State Capitol. After a go with the U.S. Army, the Orlando-native attended the University of Central Florida and earned a degree in American Policy and National Security. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. He'd love to hear from you. You can reach Jason by email ([email protected]) or on Twitter at @byJasonDelgado.


2 comments

  • Sonja Fitch

    August 7, 2020 at 4:29 pm

    Wtf you are the bogeyman! Duffus Desantis you have failed to lead during the trumpvirus pandemic ! Shut down the state! Start over and slowly transition back to schools! You the Bogeyman!

    • Saya

      August 9, 2020 at 3:39 am

      Omg NO!!!!

Comments are closed.


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