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Tallahassee bar owners say reopening comes just in time

Posted at 6:30 PM, Oct 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-01 18:30:18-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — In Tallahassee, restrictions on private businesses are loosening day by day.

Bar owners say they know the risks and people should have the choice of whether to take them as we move into Phase Three.

Days ago, hundreds lined up to get inside a College Town bar in Tallahassee.

Potbelly's, The Painted Lady, and The Garden are all in their final stage of reopening as of Thursday, meaning full capacity and no masks required.

Earlier this year, Potbelly's had to close after several employees tested positive for the coronavirus.

Now all employees will continue to wear masks and they will get tested on a weekly basis to make sure they're healthy enough to keep working.

The director of Operations Albert Hansen said he appreciates Halsey Beshears continuing to stick up for bar owners as the reopening process has not been easy.

"It's nice to have that support because, to be frank, there's not that many people in this industry that have come out of this, in our realm of the world, better than ever," said Hansen. "Most business owners that are in our in our specific sector of the market are doing worse than they ever have and are contemplating never reopening again. If this went on another three or six months I don't know how many bars would've been able to survive that."

While masks won't be mandatory they're still encouraged and temperature checks will be taken at the door.

"Students are super excited obviously to have a place to go out and have fun in an environment again," Hansen said. "But you definitely have people that are on the opposite end of the discussion that think a mistake is being made."

"I'm very worried that by opening up the businesses, we're going to see an increased number of cases, and when you see an increased number of cases you inevitably see an increased number of deaths," said Dr. David Dodson, an infectious disease expert.

Dodson says Florida saw a surge of cases in July after Governor DeSantis opened Phase Two too quickly.

Baja's Beach Club is also reopening this Saturday after shutting its doors and having its liquor license suspended by DBPR over the summer.