JUNE 3 | 1:13 P.M. | TREASURE COAST–Bars across the state of Florida can reopen starting on Friday, but not yet in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced on Wednesday.

The governor said Florida is ready to enter “Phase Two” of its reopening plan.

Under the second phase, bars will be able to operate with table service, with indoor occupancy at 50 percent and unlimited seating outdoors. Employees aren’t figured into the 50 percent calculation.

“So, basically, outdoor seating with social distance, a certain amount indoors but you’re seated to get served,” DeSantis said. “I mean, people go enjoy having a drink, it’s fine. We want to kind of not have huge crowds piling in.”

Calls have been increasing for DeSantis to reopen bars, which include nightclubs and social clubs. Among the requests have come from clubs that serve military veterans, such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars and AMVETS.

Okeechobee County Commissioner Terry Burroughs said the clubs serve a critical need in the community as “that’s the only meal that those veterans a lot of times get.”

Restaurants that have been operating under similar seating guidelines will now be allowed to have people seated in bar areas.

Under the new reopening guidelines, which take effect on Friday:

  • Restaurants may allow bar-top seating with appropriate social distancing
  • Bars and pubs may operate at 50% capacity inside and full capacity outside with appropriate social distancing
  • Retail stores may operate at full capacity
  • Gyms and fitness centers may operate at full capacity
  • Entertainment venues like movie theaters, concert houses, auditoriums, playhouses, bowling alleys, and arcades may operate at 50% capacity
  • Personal services business like tattoo parlors, acupuncture establishments, tanning salons, and massage establishments may operate while adhering to the Florida Department of Health
  • Pari-mutuel facilities which offer gambling may submit a request to open to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation

The guidelines will apply to 64 counties, excluding Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties.

Florida News Service contributed to this story.