A return to normalcy with reservations

Now that all of Florida is in what we call Phase III, a green light has been given to businesses to open up to 100% capacity as well as re-opening of previously shuttered businesses such as bars and nightclubs. Even with these new orders, there are several factors which prevent a complete return to normalcy so you may not see crowds return to pre-pandemic levels just yet.  First off, without any vaccine for at least the rest of this year, many people have a valid fear of going to any place too crowded, especially small indoor spaces.  Second, with so many people either working reduced hours or not at all, money can be tight so going out can be a strain on limited budgets, further limiting the amount of people attending events at local bars and restaurants these days.  Third, city and county code enforcement officers still maintain the ability to approve or disapprove of how a business operates and can levy costly fines.  So, while you may now be able to eat at a bar, there are requirements of seat spacing, table spacing, plexiglass barriers, and so on and so forth which all restrict the capacity of any room, whether or not the state says that bars and restaurants may open up to 100%.  With many rules still in place at County and City levels, business owners are walking a thin line between making customers feel safe and following the letters of the law. 

So what’s the deal with reservations? 

In the past, I would never make a reservation to go to a bar or restaurant to see a band. If they were playing for 4 hours, I would just show up whenever I liked and stay as long as I felt comfortable.  And if they ran out of tables, I could just hang out, whether it be standing at a bar or near a friend’s table.  However, as a compromise to offering food, drinks and live music, while still maintaining an extra level of physical distance between guests, many bars and restaurants and soon, large scale events, require guests to call ahead or go online to reserve a time slot or table.  This can take a bit of getting used to but it’s better than getting turned away when you find out that the place is full and you can’t just wait at the entrance.

We might be able to envision larger outdoor events returning to our streets soon by looking at how the government of Saudi Arabia lifted some of the restrictions on visiting one of Islam’s holiest sites, the Grand Mosque which has millions of visitors each year.  In order to avoid crowding and maintain social distancing, the government of Saudi Arabia is asking visitors to reserve a specific date and time-slot and then only allowing a controlled number of people to visit each hour to reach a maximum of 6000/day.  Closer to home, the Las Olas Art Fair is re-opening next weekend and asking visitors to do exactly the same thing. 

It appears that event organizers are finally starting to migrate from online-only events to controlled large scale events.  You’ll find some examples on the local events pages of Weekend Broward.

Let’s continue to support local live music

Every day, we see new businesses dipping their feet into the area of live music which gives me hope that we will soon return to a time when we can safely meet our friends for a drink or two while rockin’ and rollin’ our way past the midnight hour.  Browse the live music calendars above and you might be surprised at you find as we update them multiple times each day.