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3 First Coast communities to allow bars to remain open until 2 a.m. beginning Sept. 14

Additionally, Florida bars can reopen at 50% capacity for consumption beginning Monday.

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. — Bars and restaurants are about to have some big changes. It's been months since either has had any sense of normalcy, but come Monday, they'll be able to open back up at 50% capacity.

That's too late for the Jacksonville Jaguars opening game, but it will be in time for Monday Night Football. 

“We have a big bar, and we won’t be able to use it Sunday for the Jaguars’ game. That’s a shame," said Sneakers Sports Grille owner Greg Pratt.

Pratt is happy about Monday's new changes, giving it that two thumbs up.

“I’m obviously happy about it," Pratt said. "There’s a lot of jobs in this industry, and it’s great for people to get back to work.”

Murray Clinton lives in Jacksonville and had lunch at Sneakers.

“I’m excited about it because the city needs something to do," Clinton said. "We’ve been bored for a while. 50% seems like a reasonable amount.”

“I'm ecstatic. We’re trying to get back to normal and start bringing in some revenue," said Fernando Meza, owner of The The Wreck Tiki Lounge. 

Meza's business along with other bars and restaurants in Jacksonville, Neptune and Atlantic Beaches can remain open until 2 a.m. Currently, they have to close at midnight.

“A lot of our business doesn’t come from 11 until 1:30, and us having to shut down at midnight, all the business was flocking to Jacksonville where they are open until 2," Meza said.

Meza has high hopes for his business and other bars and restaurants in the First Coast.

“I hope that we don’t have to shut down again or go into a smaller capacity," Meza said. "I hope we can move forward and go back to all normal.”

Bars and restaurants still have to abide by social distancing, capacity and face covering rules. 

Do you think bars and restaurants should be open until 2 a.m. amid the #CoronavirusPandemic? That's what's happening...

Posted by Dawn White on Friday, September 11, 2020