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Sarasota Tuesday, Mar. 17, 2020 10 months ago

Governor orders closure of bars statewide

At a press conference today, Gov. Ron DeSantis also said the state is taking steps to limit crowds at restaurants and on beaches in Florida.
by: David Conway Deputy Managing Editor

During Monday’s City Commission meeting, Sarasota officials expressed hope they would get guidance from the state on how to manage the operation of restaurants and bars to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

At a press conference today in Tallahassee, Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an announcement related to those businesses. The state is ordering the suspension of all nightclub and bar operations for the next 30 days effective at 5 p.m. today, DeSantis announced.

Restaurants can remain open, but the governor said restaurants will have to implement some changes, including limiting occupancy by 50%, ensuring seating is staggered so groups are separated by at least 6 feet and screening employees to ensure nobody with symptoms of COVID-19 is working.

DeSantis also said the state will enforce Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines recommending against group gatherings larger than 10 people at beaches statewide.

“If you look at the CDC guidance, I think the No. 1 thing is we don’t want large crowds of people congregating right now,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis noted that local governments have the authority to create their own regulations as officials see fit, and he said the state supported those actions.

“This is the floor for Florida for the foreseeable future,” DeSantis said of today’s announcement.

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