ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The usual changes people are seeing as places reopen are additional cleaning and social distancing. Many will see about half the people they normally would inside bars with the limited capacity. Regardless, the owner of one bar says this is the day he has been waiting for.

What You Need To Know

  • Many bars are preparing for  Phase 2

  • Crafty Squirrel reopened during Phase 1

“When you're open seven days a week and then all of a sudden it's an eerie feeling when you're downtown and there's just nothing. You're expecting to see a tumbleweed roll down,” said Joshua Cameron, owner of the Crafty Squirrel.

Many bars have been preparing for the Phase 2 during the coronavirus pandemic.

Cameron who owns the St. Pete bar tries to keep his spirits high as he gets ready for Friday’s reopening. Although he admits, the last few months were tough.

The oyster bar reopened during Phase 1. It is a restaurant, but Friday will be the first day back at the Crafty Squirrel.

Cameron says he received some money from the federally backed Cares Act, but he says the bills still piled up. Just one month of electricity for the bar, even while closed, cost $3,000.

Employees spent Thursday cleaning and preparing to reopen on Friday. Still, Cameron says the recovery will not be easy.

“Coming into slow season I think it's going to take a good six or seven months just to play catch up. Plus, a lot of food inventory got wasted, a lot of rent, a lot of dead utilities but I think if we have a really awesome season, not too many hurricanes, we might be looking pretty good by next year,” said Cameron.

Locally, all bars and pubs will be allowed to reopen, however, the governor did not give South Florida clearance to enter Phase 2 just yet.

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