Memorial Day weekend a major blow for local bars and nightclubs

A Neptune Beach staple wants to reopen its doors before they go out of business.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — While many restaurants are operating at 50 percent capacity for Memorial Day weekend, other businesses like bars and nightclubs remain closed.

After being excluded from Governor Ron DeSantis’s reopening plan, bar owners are fired up.

“We feel like we’re being discriminated against because everything is open,” said Jammes Pub manager Telicia Walls.

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Dozens of protesters filled the parking lot at Rascal’s Bar on Jacksonville’s west side Saturday afternoon.

Many of them were not social distancing or wearing masks.

One sign read “first to close last to open” another one had “open these bars, close my porch” written on it.

“We’re not making money to pay our bills. we’re about to lose everything,” said Walls.

Bar owners across the city of Jacksonville said Memorial Day weekend is one of their busiest times of the year and they’re missing out on all that revenue after being closed for more than two months.

Owners of one the oldest and well-known establishments in Neptune Beach, Pete’s Bar, are now trying to get the governor’s attention on Facebook, saying, “Every single other bar in Neptune Beach is open, yet we remained closed because we don’t sell chicken wings or greasy baskets of fried food.”

Bars are not scheduled to reopen until phase two of governor Ron Desantis’s plan but it’s unclear when the next phase of reopening will begin.

“He’s the only one that has the power to do it,” Walls said.