Orange Co. Mayor Prepared To Shut Down Bars If They Lead To Outbreaks

Sep 14, 2020

Ahead of bars reopening on Monday, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said most owners will follow health safety protocols in order to remain open.

But Demings said special agents from the Department of Business and Professional Regulation along with Orange County strike teams will work weekends to monitor them just in case.

He said if the Department of Health alerts him to coronavirus outbreaks linked to bars, he would be prepared to shut down them.

“That will cause a conversation with the governor and his related order and we will look then within our own local authority of whether or not we need to make any adjustments or not,” Demings said.

Dyer said it wouldn’t be that easy to determine whether an increase in coronavirus cases is connected to bars with much of Central Florida reopening.

“We’ve got football games that are going to be played at UCF with 20 percent capacity. We’ve got soccer games the same. Of course we’ve got all the kids that have gone back to schools. We have visitation at nursing homes. We’re about to start the flu season again,” Dyer said.

The state announced Friday that bars and breweries are allowed to reopen Monday at 50 percent capacity, with indoor patrons being seated for service and outdoor patrons observing social distancing.

Businesses that serve primarily alcohol had been closed in the state since June after a spike  in COVID-19 cases reported in the state were traced to the establishments.