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Tallahassee bars, restaurants worried about making ends meet after Gov. DeSantis' suspension

Posted at 5:17 PM, Mar 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-21 18:21:34-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — After Florida suspended late night clubs and bars for 30 days in hopes of stopping the spread of COVID-19, places like Palace Saloon in Tallahassee say they don't know what they're going to do.

For people who grew up in Tallahassee, or students who now call it home, the Palace Saloon is a place to hang out and play pool.

Keith Hodge is a manager and bartender at Palace Saloons.

"I'm going to hunker down and finish reading Game of Thrones," said Hodge.

He says a 30-day restriction means he has a lot to figure out, and fast.

"Yeah, I worry about paying rent honestly," Hodge said.

Lora Lowe has owned the bar for 12 years, and says her employees are her family, too. Lowe says she understands why Governor DeSantis imposed the restrictions on gathering places, but it still hurts.

"I have a mother who has had cancer for five years and has just finished her last round of chemo," said Lowe. "And I have a father who has heart condition so I understand with the elderly community it's a big deal, but as far as I also have found my staff as my family as well, and they count on they count on money from the bar."

A block away, Great Plates owner Luis Guerrero also faces concerns after Governor DeSantis also ordered all restaurants to cut capacity by 50 percent to help with social distancing.

Now, businesses are hoping the community still comes out to support them.

"The smallest visit to a small business will help," Geurrero said.

"Support your local businesses," said Lowe.

There will be some help for small businesses. Governor DeSantis announced a bridge loan for small businesses who are impacted by coronavirus.