'We're suffering': Florida bar owners, staff, and patrons call for Governor DeSantis to allow bars to reopen

Bar owners, workers, and regulars protested outside bars in Volusia County on Saturday. They are calling on Governor Ron DeSantis to open their local watering holes back up.

“We work 365 days a year. We work through hurricanes. You know, we just want to work and our people want to come back,” said Debbie Walker, a bartender. She's been a bartender for five years and has never seen anything like the last couple of months.

“We just want to work,” she said. “Please let us open.”

Florida’s bars have stayed closed, while other businesses like salons, gyms, and restaurants have opened up. Bar owners asked “why not us?”


“We can wear masks. We can abide by the same CDC guidelines that everybody else is doing. What's the difference, what's the holdup?” said bar owner Mark Slonicki. “We're suffering. It's day 65.”

MORE NEWS: Small theme parks, attractions reopen for business in Central Florida

After announcing that the gyms were reopening, Governor DeSantis said Florida was taking steps toward reopening, stating that “I think the main thing is to keep going in a good direction. Keep building on success and we’ll have a good pathway forward."


Nora Aveiga worked at a salon near the protest. She said she didn’t mind the bars opening up as long as they followed the rules. She told FOX 35 Orlando that “I think they should be open. The only thing I thought is that people keep the rules, you know? The distance and the mask, I think it's okay."

Bars, pubs, and nightclubs that get more than 50 percent of their business from alcohol sales are set to open in phase two of the state's reopening. There is no timeline yet for when that will happen.

Tune in to FOX 35 Orlando for the latest Central Florida news.

MOBILE USERS: Click here to tune in to FOX 35 Orlando