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Packed restaurants spotted during first weekend of Phase 3 reopening

The first weekend that restaurants could reopen at a higher capacity coincided with a major sports moment, drawing crowds.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Restaurants were allowed to expand to full capacity for a huge sports weekend in Tampa Bay. Many of them were packed, which also meant that a key COVID-19 precaution, social distancing, was not always maintained. 

After months of taking proper precautions, doctors worry cases could start to climb again.

Infectious disease doctor John Sinnot worries that young people, who have a smaller risk of dying from the virus, could survive it but never be the same.

"The long term side effects are totally unknown. I worry that we might be playing with fire," Dr. Sinnot said.

But governor DeSantis has confidence that restaurants are doing all they can for customers.

During his press conference to announce the start of Phase 3, he acknowledged the hard work restaurants have been doing to keep customers and staff safe.

“They have worked as hard as anybody to create safe environments," he said while also noting that a clean safety record will mean a lot. "They take this obligation seriously, they want customers to have confidence."

For Florida residents who do decide to go out, Dr. Sinnot urges them to keep COVID-19 precautions in mind.

“Sure, I don't especially like eating outside, especially in the summer. But I do enjoy the concept of staying alive and not having any side effects," Dr. Sinnot said. "So when I do eat out, I always have an outside table, over in the corner, away from people.”

And he says that if you want to grab a drink, stay outside for that too.

“Myself, I would try to drink outside on the terrace, near the sun and water, somewhere totally safe. Inside, I would not even consider it.”

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