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Some restaurants in Tallahassee say they won't reopen just yet

Bars, salons say they're being left out
Posted at 7:10 PM, Apr 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-30 20:02:15-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — As the numbers of positive coronavirus tests decrease, restrictions begin to loosen in the Big Bend area.

But, that does not mean the safer at home order is lifted.

Leon County says the safer at home order is still in place, maintaining the message that it's healthier to stay home.

Governor Ron DeSantis' order allows a little more leverage for some places, like restaurants, where dining rooms will open at 25 percent capacity.

Other places are staying shut, leaving those business owners feeling slighted.

"They've totally left us out," said Steven Bailey, the owner of Bullwinkle's Saloon. "Like you don't count."

Bailey says he's upset because Governor Desantis' new plan to re-open the economy is leaving out bars.

While he understands social distancing guidelines and keeping people safe, Bailey says things still don't make sense.

Bullwinkle's Saloon has several rooms, and the capacity to fit more than 400 people, and Bailey says making changes in the building could be easy.

"Yeah I'm a bar," said Bailey. "I'm not essential. I'm entertainment, but people need entertainment. They're going crazy sitting at home. They're going crazy with their kids at home."

Sheila Nuñez owns LA Stylez salon in Tallahassee.

"It really needs to be fair across the board," said Nuñez, "because it seems like only certain businesses are being looked at by the government. But we all pay taxes."

She says hair stylists are another line of work that can be flexible, like switching to appointment-only.

"My business can be customized based on my environment." Nuñez said.

Nuñez says letting people get their hair done can help in a time when mental health is critical.

At the Department of Elder Affairs, they're hoping telehealth can bridge the gap in the meantime. Nursing homes will still prohibit visitors as phase 1 of the re-opening begins.

"They are the frailest of the frail, like the governor said,they are disproportionately impacted and visitation has been suspended," said Richard Prudom. "And they have no contact with family members except by phone."

While some wait, Bailey has a request directly for DeSantis.

"So please, Mr. Governor, let us have something," Bailey said. "Let me get my foot back in the door. Let me work 10 percent. Start out with that."

And just because restaurants can re-open dining doesn't mean they will. Others are getting booked with reservations for Monday.

A lot of places, like Riccardo's Restaurant, are sticking to curbside for a little bit longer.

"We need our staff back, number one," said John Acevedo, the owner of Riccardos'. "We need to do re-training, we need to kind of start all over again like we did a few weeks ago when we had to do 100 percent curbside service. So we have to get everybody back in the mindset ,like, 'yeah it's okay to come back out again.'"

Other businesses, like Madison Social, say they're going to wait a little bit longer for Leon County to give their blessing before re-opening.

Leon County just announced that their safer at home order, including their curfew, expires May 4. Library services are now reopening, too.

Social distancing should continue and CDC guidelines should be followed.