Florida bars wait to reopen during pandemic

Bars, nightclubs ordered to close by Florida governor in March

BUNNELL, Fla. – It’s a hurry up and wait for bars in Central Florida amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Crossroads Tavern in Bunnell is one of the many family-owned bars struggling to stay afloat since they were ordered to close by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The owners said they’ve been closed since March 17, just two days after paying almost $2,000 to renew their liquor license. Co-owner Janice Bontempo said it’s not fair that bars that serve food are allowed to re-open while others can’t.

“Why can’t we do it and practice social distancing like everyone’s supposed to be doing? Why is it any different that we can’t? What, because we don’t have food? That’s not fair,” Bontempo said.

Marc Catoggio is co-owner of Crossroads Tavern and said they’re selling some alcohol since it’s also a package store but what they make in two weeks, he said they’d triple that in one day if the bar were open.

"It's putting everybody in a hole that's getting really deep and really hard to get out of," said Catoggio.

The owners said they’ve since sanitized the bar, bought protective gear for the staff, and have hand sanitizer on stand by as they continue to anxiously wait for the green light.

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