Owner of Elbo Room in Fort Lauderdale anxious to reopen as nearby restaurants are full of customers

Broward bar owners protest having to keep their businesses closed

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Elbo Room, a well-known establishment in Fort Lauderdale, is still waiting to reopen.

The owner says it’s unfair that they’re forced to stay closed while businesses around them have reopened.

Fort Lauderdale Beach is open for business, but not for everyone. A state ban on bars in Broward is still in effect, and for Elbo room owner Michelle Penrod, it doesn’t make sense.

Every restaurant has now turned into a bar," she said. "You need to order an appetizer and you can sit here and drink all day. We are prepared to open at half capacity. Whatever it takes."

Area restaurants have certainly picked up where bars left off. Since they reopened, many of them have been packed, with little social distancing.

"People aren’t going to social distance, the ones that are responsible won’t show up, so it is what it is," she said.

There is no timeline for the reopening of bars, especially since COVID cases in the state are on the rise.