Several Central Florida wine bars and wine-focused restaurants will continue to limit indoor capacity to 50%, despite Governor Ron DeSantis lifting all coronavirus restrictions on their establishments yesterday afternoon.
A few hours after the governor’s announcement that Florida would move to Phase 3 of its reopening plan, Mary Montalvo-Weyer, co-owner of Luisa’s Cellar in Sanford, posted a video on social media informing patrons that nothing would change at her business.
“We talked about it,” she said in the video, “and we decided that what is best for us and for you is [to] keep 50% capacity like we were doing the whole time. We’re gonna keep on doing social distancing, [and] all of us are gonna keep on wearing our masks.”
“I don’t think it’s the right time to go back into a full-blown restaurant capacity,” she told her followers.
Montalvo-Weyer says Luisa’s Cellar is “blessed with a lot of square footage,” so she can seat plenty of patrons while maintaining social distance, but the choice to continue to limit her onsite business was still complicated.
“It wasn’t a difficult decision morally,” she said today, “but it was financially.”
Montalvo-Weyer has a medical condition that could put her at a higher risk for repercussions from COVID-19. But other wine bar owners in the area are making the same types of calls.
“The right thing”
“It’s the right thing to do,” said Melissa McAvoy, co-owner of Orlando’s Swirlery Wine Bar, about her decision to stick to 50% capacity inside her small space in SoDo.
Matt Coltrin (pictured above), owner of The Parkview in Winter Park, echoed her sentiment.
“I feel like a few more weeks of being cautious to ensure the safety of our staff and our guests is one of the easiest decisions I’ve had to make this year,” he said.
Coltrin says he’s concerned people will interpret the state’s move to Phase 3 as a sign that things are back to normal, despite continued increases in new COVID-19 infections in the state.
“I prefer to wait a bit,” he said, “and see how things look after a few weeks of unregulated social distancing,”
The Parkview will continue with 50% capacity limits for now, along with masks and gloves for employees and all the extra sanitizing protocols the business put in place at the start of the pandemic.