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Dining-in no longer an option at Florida restaurants due to coronavirus

Posted: 2:27 PM, Mar 20, 2020
Updated: 2020-03-20 23:22:14-04
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Dining in is no longer an option at Florida restaurants, a new executive order from Gov. Ron DeSantis says.

Executive Order 20-71 directs all restaurants and food establishments in Florida to suspend on-premises food and alcohol consumption for customers.

Restaurants may however still operate their kitchens for the purpose of providing delivery or take-out services.

The order is effective immediately.

This is all a result of social distancing measures brought on by coronavirus.

"Unprecedented I think is the only way to describe it because it’s something we’ve never experienced before," said Gino Tiozzo, owner of Donatello Restaurant in Tampa.

Tiozzo says after more than three decades in business, the family-owned and operated Italian restaurant will experience a quiet dining room and bar.

"I can’t say that it’s something I’m happy about but it’s something that I feel is necessary under the situation," said Tiozzo.

Tiozzo is now focusing on keeping staff members on the payroll and offering a carry-out menu for customers. ABC Action News was there Friday night as some of the first pick-up orders came in.

"I look forward to seeing the restaurant with many people in it again in the near future," said Tiozzo.

The executive order will also allow alcohol sales to go with food that is pick-up or delivery. I.D. will be required for orders including alcohol.

The order comes shortly after the announcement that all bars and nightclubs in the state had to close due to the coronavirus.

Previously restaurants just had to stay under 50% capacity.

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The order also requires the closures of gymnasiums and fitness centers in Florida. The Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) shall utilize its authorities under Florida law to further implement and enforce the provisions of this Executive Order and shall take additional measures as necessary to protect the public health, safety and welfare.