Florida restaurants and bars ease into opening at full capacity

Phase 3 reopening

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Local restaurants and bars with food licenses are easing into full capacity. On Friday Gov. Ron DeSantis announced phase three of reopening Florida businesses.

All restaurants and bars with a food license no longer have capacity restrictions.

“It was good just to hear the governor lift the restrictions and go to phase three. It’s some kind of normalcy,” explain Fernando Meza, General Manager of The Wreck in Jacksonville Beach.

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During the second bar shutdown, his business was able to get a food license so they could reopen.

But even then, the numbers weren’t good.

“We were following the restaurant rules. Everyone had to be seated. We were glad to be open, but our sales weren’t significant to where we had a profit.”

He says moving to phase three gives his business, and so many others, a glimmer of hope to try and make ends meet by the end of the year.

Donald Wiggins, President of Heritage Capital Group, says phase three could save a lot of businesses from closing.

“There are some that I’ve already closed permanently, but there’s no question the survivable rate will be greater because we reopened.”

Wiggins explains most restaurants and bars must be at 60 or 70 percent before they can begin to break even.

But even with the green light for 100 percent capacity, Meza says that won’t happen any time soon.

For one, he doesn’t have the staffing for it and two, he wants everyone to be safe.

Meza says, “We will slowly increase the capacity once we start feeling comfortable that we can handle the crowds and be able to provide good service.”