The News-Journal, Daytona Beach, Fla.
DAYTONA BEACH — Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday ordered all bars and nightclubs in Florida to close for the next 30 days beginning Tuesday at 5 p.m. in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
New rules also have been issued to restaurants including an immediate reduction in seating by 50 percent and that all tables must be staggered and at least six feet apart to allow social distancing for customers.
All restaurant employees must also be screened before they start their shift each day to see if they have a fever or show signs of illness.
That screening process would be the responsibility of individual restaurants.
DeSantis also encouraged the public to place takeout or delivery orders from restaurants rather than dine-in eating.
“We don’t want large crowds of people congregated right now,” he said at a news conference.
DeSantis said the new rules for screening restaurant employees and staggering tables “is the floor for Florida for the foreseeable future.”
The Volusia-Flagler area has 104 drinking establishments. 491 limited-service restaurants such as snack venues and cafeterias, and 586 full-service restaurants, according to Christine Sikora of CareerSource Flagler Volusia.
“We’re not really a bar or a nightclub,” said Ted Teschner, owner of the Mr. Dunderbak’s restaurant/deli inside Volusia Mall. “I’ve got no problem with the new rules. It makes sense. I can put a chair on top of every other table.”
Mr. Dunderbak’s has seating for 100 people.
“We’ve already seen a drop of about 40% in customer traffic since Saturday,” Teschner said of the new requirement to reducing his seating by half. “A lot of people have been buying cold cuts to take home and stock up.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report. This is a developing story that will be updated as more information becomes available.
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