Streets of downtown Orlando empty as Fourth of July weekend begins

Bars closed as COVID-19 cases spike

The streets of downtown Orlando are empty on July 3, 2020.
The streets of downtown Orlando are empty on July 3, 2020. (Nicky Zizaza, News 6)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Downtown Orlando is usually bustling on Friday nights, but since bars shutdown following a surge of coronavirus cases statewide, it’s a standstill.

“It’s kind of felt weird for the last several months so I guess this is kind of the new normal,” Alex Reszitnyk said.

The Orlando resident said because it’s all in an effort to be safe, he is OK with the eerie emptiness.

The Department of Business and Professional Regulations issued the order to stop bars from serving alcohol for on-site consumption in an effort to quell the spread of COVID-19.

The order was issued less than a month after Gov. Ron DeSantis said most of the state could being phase two of reopening which included bars, pubs and movie theaters.

During a news conference on Wednesday, DeSantis said it was necessary.

“I do think people are going to be more conscious of it. When they’re going out and interacting during the Fourth of July, in a way they may not have been for Memorial Day,” DeSantis said.

The rollback was also supported by Dr. Raul Pino with the Florida Department of Health in Orange County.

“I just hope that we have learned from Memorial Day, and we are ready to celebrate the Fourth of July,” Dr. Pino said.

Health experts said data indicates Memorial Day celebrations may have contributed to the jump in coronavirus cases.

How and when everything will return to business as usual hangs in the balance, some like Shamika Curry are enjoying the peace and quiet.

“It’s nice to come out and enjoy yourself without the crowds,” Curry said.

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