Florida bars packed after state lifts COVID-19 restrictions

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Crowds packed into some Florida bars over the weekend after Gov. Ron DeSantis lifted coronavirus restrictions on them and other businesses, according to a report.

Footage showed patrons overflowing out of the Elbo Room in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday after the governor’s surprise order, news station WPLG reported.

“I’m healthy, I’m strong and I feel comfortable with all my friends,” said Dan Gibby, who was at the watering hole.

In Davie, Gaffer’s Pub owner Debbie Qualls said the greenlight to reopen was a lifesaver for the business.

“We’ve had to pay the rent, the electric, all the bills. If it was too much longer, we wouldn’t be here,” Qualls said.

DeSantis’s announcement Friday allowed all bars and restaurants to reopen effectively immediately — and prevented local municipalities from implementing restrictions that would force them to operate at less than half-capacity unless it can be justified for health or economic reasons.

“We’re not closing anything going forward,” DeSantis said.

The governor closed bars and nightclubs on St. Patrick’s Day due to outbreaks across the state.