Florida closing bars, nightclubs for 30 days; issues sweeping changes for restaurants, beaches

Bars and nightclubs across the state shut down at 5 p.m. Tuesday. 

Several in downtown Orlando closed hours earlier after Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer announced they would have to stop selling alcohol immediately. 

Some spots downtown tried to make the St. Patrick's Day party last as long as possible, but still they shut it down early after a big announcement.

"Bars and nightclubs effective 5:00 p.m. today, they’re going to be suspended for 30 days," said Governor Ron DeSantis. 

Earlier Tuesday, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer made a similar announcement for the city, but late Tuesday afternoon confirmed he's following the governor's guidelines. The decision was backed by several business owners and not made lightly.

"What we’re trying to do is be safe for all of us. We’re social businesses and we have a responsibility," said Church Street Entertainment managing partner Doug Taylor.

"We want to shorten the time that we’re affected by this virus and not extend that time," said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, D.

FOX 35 knocked on the doors of three Irish pubs downtown. None of them wanted to talk. They were upset and worried about closing on what would normally be their busiest day of the year.

"It’s important for the mayor to make that decision today especially with it being St. Patrick's Day and large gatherings happening for us, esp downtown," said bartender Blue Star.

But there is concern over how this will impact the hospitality industry financially in the long term.

"My mom's a bartender so that’s her kind of livelihood so it’s going to really slam her and her coworkers and stuff," said Lily Pouler, who lives in Orlando.

"We’re going to do all that we can for all of the people that are our stakeholders including our employees but yes, we’re concerned," said Taylor.

But for now they are trying to hold out hope that they'll power through.

"We are Orlando strong," said Star.

"We’ll be back. And we’ll be back strong and we’ll be back together once we get on the other side of this," said Taylor.

For the past few days, Florida beaches were busy, and DeSantis said it's another crowded situation he wants to scale back on. He said the state will apply the CDC guidance and said beachgoers must meet in groups smaller than 10.

“I think the steps we’re taking will really reduce density, reduce crowds,” the governor added.

He said the sweeping changes give cities and counties flexibility to take it a step further, which some did.

Following the governor's announcement, Miami-Dade County closed all gyms, breweries, banquet halls and restaurant dining rooms with a capacity of more than 8 people. Gyms with a capacity of less than 8 people, or those in residential buildings, police departments or fire stations are exempt. The closures do not apply to grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations or convenience stores, WSVN reports.