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Local bars and nightclubs close under the Gov. DeSantis' order

Posted at 6:48 PM, Mar 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-17 19:00:05-04

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced stricter guidelines for the state on Tuesday.

Bars and nightclubs are to remain closed for the next 30 days — a move from Gov. Ron DeSantis to reduce large group gatherings amid coronavirus concerns.

The decision comes after nearly 200 Florida residents test positive for the novel Coronavirus.

Palace Pub & Wine Bar is one of the local businesses affected by the governor's tighter guidelines.

"We kind of already had a plan, we just opened our bottle shop last Monday actually, so it's kind of a blessing but a curse," said Naomi Biber, co-owner of Palace Pub & Wine Bar.

Palace Pub & Wine Bar in Downtown Cape Coral has been open for nine months.

While Biber won't be able to operate the bar portion of her business, she hopes to be able to make some money from bottle sales.

"It's a very fragile time the first year that a business is open. I know we'll make it through, but it's going to be rough," said Biber.

Other bars like Dixie Roadhouse will have to close their doors completely.

"We kind of anticipated it happening thought it was going to be coming, it was just a matter of time," said James Fitzwater, assistant manager at Dixie Roadhouse.

Fitzwater say they will lose revenue from thousands of customers over the next 30 days.

"Usually any given Wednesday, Friday, or Saturday, it's usually anywhere between 700 to 1,000 people," said Fitzwater.

While there are no plans for layoffs, Fitzwater says it will be tough for some roadhouse employees who depend on that job.

"Tighten up your belts, it's going to be a rough month, but I think as a state, everybody contributing, we'll get this coronavirus out of Florida and be back to business as usual," said Fitzwater.

This week Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the activation of the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program.

That's a move designed to help small businesses going through economic hardships as a result of the novel coronavirus.

"This will be available for small businesses in all counties within the state from 2 to 100 employees," said Gov. DeSantis.

These short-term loans are intended to "bridge the gap" between the time a major catastrophe hits and when a business has secured longer-term recovery resources.

"You can get 50,000 dollars immediately, one year term, with a limit of one loan per business, zero percent fixed-rate, and no prepayment penalty," said DeSantis.

For more information on the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program, click here.