Coronavirus: Florida governor bans all restaurant dining, orders gyms to close

Restaurants can prepare to-go and delivery options, including alcohol

Kelli Rizza cleans the bar before closing the doors of McSorley's Beach Pub at 5 o'clock on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, in Fort Lauderdale Fla. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, released a statement saying that all bars and nightclubs throughout Florida will close for the next 30 days. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson) (Brynn Anderson, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis directed all restaurants and food establishments within the state to suspend all dine-in food and beverage consumption for customers, but is allowing restaurants to operate for take-out and delivery orders amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The executive order, released Friday, lifted the restrictions that prohibited specially licensed restaurants from selling packaged alcohol for delivery, take-out or consumption off-premises. Alcohol sales to go with food that is picked-up or delivered will require an I.D. upon delivery, according to the memorandum.

[Gov. Ron DeSantis will hold a daily coronavirus state update at 4 p.m. Friday. Watch live at the top of this story.]

The executive order also requires all gyms and fitness centers to close within the state. Many gyms and studios have already closed and are offering online classes.

DeSantis has repeatedly pushed for people to observe social distancing to stop the spread of the highly contagious virus.

The U.S. Center for Disease Control recommends avoiding gatherings of 10 or more to slow COVID-19 infections. The virus is spread from person-to-person.

Also on Friday Darden Restaurants closed all of its dining rooms across the U.S. at more than 1,700 restaurants. Some counties in Florida have closed public beaches and parking to deter social gatherings.

As of Friday morning there were more than 500 cases of COVID-19 in Florida, including 10 deaths.

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About the Author:

Erin began her career at News 6 as an assignment editor, then became a show producer. She is now a digital storyteller as part of the Click Orlando team.