For the first time since late June, bars in Florida will be able to pour drinks for customers come 12:01am Monday. Establishments can be half-full, as they could before the shutdown, the Orlando Sentinel reports. "I would say that's one of the best bits of news I've heard in a while,'' said the president of Orlando Brewing Co. Gov. Ron DeSantis had said the decision was up to Halsey Beshears, secretary of the state's business department, who tweeted his announcement Thursday evening. DeSantis said he didn't think closing the bars did anything to stop the spread of the coronavirus. "Texas, I think, closed the bars entirely. Georgia kept them open," the governor said. "No difference in the epidemic curve." A lawyer for bar owners who sued the state welcomed the decision but blamed Beshears for not making it sooner.
"Thousands of establishments will never reopen, and those that do will likely never be able to climb out of this hole the state has put them in," he said. Despite the green light, Miami-Dade County isn't interested. Outdoor amusement parks, tour boats, and rental scooters will be back in business there Monday. But "no bars," an official said. "I don’t foresee us opening bars and nightclubs here for the foreseeable future—until we get a vaccine," said Mayor Carlos Gimenez this week, per the Miami Herald. When bars were prohibited from selling drinks in June—they were still allowed to sell food and carryout drinks—the state said the reason was widespread noncompliance with restrictions. Florida confirmed 2,583 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, making the total 654,731, and another 211 deaths. COVID-19 has killed 12,326 people in the state. (Read more Florida stories.)