ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Central Florida bar owners are wondering when they are going to be able to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The current state order does not allow bars to be open.
“Their businesses are probably in some of the most difficult circumstances, they’re under a state order,” Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said on Thursday.
Dyer said plans would need to be put in place before bars can reopen.
“I would support the reopening of bars when we can do it safely and they can operate,” he said.
Orange County Health Officer Dr. Raul Pino said the issue with bars is they are designed to be small.
“You want that feeling of being close to people and being in a party environment,” Pino said.
Pino noted before the pandemic everyone was used to going to crowded bars.
“If they operate at a lower rate of percentage it will not be economically feasible, because you need that volume to pay the staff and pay your rent. So they are in a pickle, that is the reality,” Pino said.
Pino kicked around some ideas that could lead to bars reopening, he mentioned limited capacity and allowing bars to have longer hours so it’s not as crowded.
Orange County’s health officer presented another obstacle, alcohol is known to impair judgment.
“Wearing a mask, social distancing, and washing your hands. Those are judgment calls,” he said.
Pino hopes bars, county leaders, and health officials can come up with ideas to help bars come up with a reopening plan.