PANAMA CITY Fla. (WMBB) — After half a year of uncertainty, restrictive guidelines, and losses in revenue – local businesses are celebrating because Florida is now officially in phase three of reopening.
This afternoon Governor Ron DeSantis announced he is lifting the coronavirus restrictions placed on restaurants and bars, which as of today are allowed to reopen at full capacity.
Operating under coronavirus guidelines has not been easy. Pam Armstrong the Owner of Tom’s Hot Dogs misses seeing her loyal customers.
“I miss having a place for the customers to sit inside,” said Armstrong.
But as of Friday afternoon local restaurant owners like Armstrong are celebrating because the pandemic restrictions in place from the state have been lifted.
“I’m going to pull out my tables and put them back the way it was,” said Armstrong.
Restaurants and bars can now operate at one hundred percent capacity and the state is also stopping local governments from issuing their own mask mandates – though it is important to remember the pandemic is not officially over.
“I wanna welcome everyone back but we all need to be cautious,” said Armstrong.
In downtown panama city general manager of the funky mermaid Shari Etienne said the restrictions were lifted at the perfect time.
“It makes me want to throw a party tonight which we are outside at the tiki bar,” said Etienne. “I’m just so excited. I’m gonna announce it on facebook so everyone knows.”
Friday night is the start of Oktoberfest in Downtown Panama City which will bring a lot of business to the restaurants and bars – now the businesses can focus more on fun rather than fear.
“You know you’re always worried that you might be one over capacity so we are so excited that we can operate at 100 percent now,” said Etienne. “This is great news.”
The event includes 12 businesses who will offer discounts, arts and crafts and of course food.