Florida Governor Ron DeSantis gave his state the go-ahead to move into “Full Phase One” as early as Monday, May 18. Among other things, this step forward toward fully reopening the state will allow Florida’s restaurants to operate at double their current capacity.
Starting May 18, the restaurants will be able to operate with 50% capacity indoors. Currently, they are restricted to only 25%. This news comes on the heels of Universal’s CityWalk reopening on May 14, and Disney Springs‘ announcement to begin a phased reopen on May 20.
There is no doubt that the ability to welcome back twice as many customers at a time will be a welcomed change for the restaurants located in the mega-resorts’ shopping and dining districts. After all, more customers mean more money, more servable demand, and more employees able to go back to work.
“We have a responsibility to move forward in a safe, smart and step-by-step approach. This will be an approach that would be rooted in facts, not in fear. It would be based on our observed experience, not based on hysteria,” DeSantis said on Thursday.
Gov. DeSantis’s announcement comes a day after Universal Orlando Resort’s shopping and dining district, CityWalk, reopened to the public. According to Universal’s press release, it was only open from 4 p.m – 10 p.m.
Select full-service restaurants and quick-service food locations: Red Oven Pizza Bakery, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Restaurant & Market, Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville (outside seating and Lone Palm area only), Voodoo Doughnut and Auntie Anne’s. Each restaurant will have a limited menu and limited seating available.
That limited seating availability was restricted to 25% capacity for indoor seating. Walt Disney World’s shopping and dining district, Disney Springs, is still preparing for its own reopening set for Wednesday, May 20. Some of its third-party restaurants like Wolfgang Puck, STK Orlando, and Planet Hollywood will be reopening first. Disney-owned businesses like Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar and Amorette’s Patisserie will begin reopening on May 27, however it is still unclear at this time which Disney-owned business will be the first to reopen.
It is also unclear at this time whether or not Disney Springs and its restaurants will immediately reopen to the now-allowed 50% capacity.
Much more will be able to happen in Florida once the “Full Phase One” begins. Gov. DeSantis outlined what Floridians can expect in a recent tweet:
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) May 15, 2020
This is a developing story.