SWFL companies aim to fully reopen as Governor DeSantis paves the way for Phase 3


It’s the news that restaurants and bars have been waiting for months. Governor Ron DeSantis paved the way for an immediate full reopening.

This does not include fines for not wearing a mask.

Restaurant owners and managers we spoke to are relieved to be back in control of their businesses. They are ready for some normalcy and to welcome you back safely.

“For restaurants, this means that there will be no restrictions from the state of Florida,” DeSantis said on Friday.

With no restrictions or restrictions imposed by the state, the Beach Box Cafe in the north of Naples is going full steam ahead.

“It will be really great to have everyone back here and not worry about the numbers,” said Nick Moiland, the cafe’s kitchen manager.

They open their full capacity immediately.

“The locals and everything around have worked really well with us with all of the mandates that have come into effect and I just think everyone will be really excited to get back to normal for the most part,” said Moiland.

Phase three of the reopening means that capacity limits for companies will be a thing of the past if they so choose, and local governments will no longer be able to close restaurants over coronavirus concerns or collect fines related to COVID-19 mandates.

“Everyone has the opportunity and the right to work; Every business has the right to run the locals to make appropriate regulations, ”DeSantis said.

This couldn’t have come at a better time for Beach Box.

“Right now it’s September, usually one of the slower months of the year, and then it starts again in October,” explains Moiland.

Perfect timing as the restaurant and Southwest Florida prepare for the start of the season.

Robert Fermin is back behind the bar at Rackem Spirits, ready to welcome all of his customers back, ready to make them act like people in bars, ready to let everyone in.

“Oh, it’s great,” he said of the new reopening rules. “It sucked telling people to sit down every five minutes. People didn’t want to go out because of that and we had to turn them away. “

What he looks forward to more is less worry and more service.

“We did our best. We did a lot of things to make that happen, but it’s just hard to get everything through, ”said Fermin.

From closing completely to opening with limited capacity to serving alcohol without mixing – it has been a huge frustration for bar owners like Raimond Aulen.

“Then enforcement came and he thought you have to do it this way and they tell you you have to do it differently and I don’t think it was ever really clear because it was like a moving destination that keeps changing changes ”, explained the 86 room owner.

Aulen says it was a challenge.

“I had to cut everything down,” he says. “You had to look at all the expenses and try to find a way to trim it, cut it, eliminate it.”

Bars are ready to be back … forever.

“It’s time people started making money and spending money,” said Aulen.

“Just don’t worry if they come in here and say we’re not doing it right or push us back down,” said Fermin.

But the executive order goes way beyond restaurants and bars. Gyms and fitness centers are also allowed to operate at full capacity, and theme parks can be fully opened with social distancing protocols.

Apartments and hotels can function normally, but of course they have to be cleaned and disinfected frequently.

We’ve spoken to many people in downtown Fort Myers who say they look forward to seeing restaurants and shops return to a new normal.

“Restaurants depend on companies and business depends on them, so I think this is a natural thing and should happen,” said Harvey Shuler.

The majority of the people we’ve spoken to are very happy that companies can work 100%, but not everyone is comfortable. Some people told us that for the time being they want to keep restricting where they are going.

Still, there were signs of celebration.

“We’re excited,” said Stacey Biro, bar manager at the Cowboy Up Saloon. “We are very excited. It’s been a long time for us. “

Cowboy Up Saloon has a sign in his shop that says “Finally 100% Capacity”. There Biro is preparing for her first weekend at full capacity, and she thinks it will be a busy one.

“We’re just happy to have everyone back and get back to normal,” said Biro.

Just down the street, Jasmine Fedoriv, ​​the owner of Mason’s Lobster Rolls, is already converting the seating

“I still want people to distance themselves socially here, but I like to put all my tables and chairs out again,” said Fedoriv.

Governor Ron DeSantis allows companies to reopen at full capacity. This means that cinemas, bowling alleys, theme parks, concert halls, salons and even gyms are open without capacity restrictions. But they need to keep an eye on and disinfect the social distancing protocols.

Leon Shuler said he was okay with that.

“Have restrictions as you should,” said Shuler. “But when it comes to capacity, a company can’t work unless it can work 100%.”

Unnecessary trips can also be resumed.

In Naples, the owner of the Inn on 5th, Phil McCabe, told us he was happy with the new rules, but he was concerned about opening too early.

“I think it’s wonderful what the governor is doing, but I hope it’s the right decision,” said McCabe. “That could destroy tourism in the coming winter, and that is my fear.”

With everyone else increasing capacity, Phase 3 suggests sporting events are reducing capacity, but theme parks may return to normal.

Social gatherings are also included in the plans. The governor says people 65 and over should minimize their time in crowds.

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