One year ago, on St. Patrick’s Day Gov. DeSantis ordered all bars and nightclubs to close

Jacksonville, FL. — One year ago, on St. Patrick’s Day Gov. DeSantis ordered all bars and nightclubs to close by 5 p.m. in hopes of limiting the spread of COVID-19.

Since then, the industry has put safety precautions in place so they could stay open and try to keep people safe.

From empty to full capacity, one year in between.

“It’s been a struggle but I’m excited, a bunch of us are excited,: explains Fernando Meza, General Manager of The Wreck Tiki Bar and Lounge.

St. Patrick’s Day 2020 was the day Gov. DeSantis ordered them to close at 5 p.m.

We spoke to bars in Jacksonville beach right after the announcement was made.

“We were just in awe, not knowing what was going to happen,” says Meza.

St. Patrick’s Day, usually a big money maker, cut short.

To put the bar shutdown into perspective, more than $1 million worth of revenue was lost from March 17th to July 29th at The Wreck and two other beach bars.

“That’s a huge hit. That’s just not counting the taxes that didn’t go to the state, that’s not counting the checks that the employees were getting and the tips that were missed out.”

That’s why the celebration this year feels even sweeter.

Places like Culhanes, Lynch’s and all the places in between are finally able to celebrate.  

Gov. Desantis even stopping by Culhane’s Tuesday night.

“It’s like that little beam of hope like hey we’re going to get back to normal. We’re doing our precautions, we’ve adapted in order to overcome a lot of struggles and obstacles to remain open.”