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Florida allows bars to reopen at 50% capacity starting Monday

(AP File Photo/Carlos Osorio)
(AP File Photo/Carlos Osorio) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

MIAMI – State officials announced on Thursday night that bars in Florida will be allowed to reopen at 50% occupancy starting on Monday. But not in Miami-Dade or Broward counties yet.

Halsey Beshears, Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation secretary, made the announcement on Twitter.

“In meetings with hundreds of owners of bars and breweries across the state, I’ve heard their stories of struggle, and I’ve observed their serious commitment to making health and safety a continuing priority in their businesses,” Beshears said in a statement.

While local governments are allowed to adopt requirements that are stricter than the state’s requirements, bars will not be allowed to reopen in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has said the reopening plan by phases will be based on the data derived from testing. According to the Florida Department of Health, the state’s phase 1 took effect on May 4 and phase 2 on June 5.

Miami-Dade and Broward counties' recovery has been slower. According to the FDOH, phase 1 took effect on May 18 in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. Neither county is on phase 2.

Mayor Carlos Gimenez said Wednesday bars and nightclubs in Miami-Dade will likely not be allowed to reopen until there is a coronavirus vaccine available. Nightclub owners in Miami Beach are asking Gimenez to reassess the situation.

Mayor Dale Holness said Wednesday the coronavirus testing positivity rate in Broward was just slightly below 5%, but for phase 2 to be in effect the state requires the rate to remain this way for a minimum of 14 days.

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FILE - In this July 24, 2020, file photo, healthcare worker Rahaana Smith instructs passengers how to use a nasal swab, at a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site in Miami-Dade. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
FILE - In this July 24, 2020, file photo, healthcare worker Rahaana Smith instructs passengers how to use a nasal swab, at a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site in Miami-Dade. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

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