Local mayor defies Florida’s closure of bars

Opponents of Florida’s decision to shut down bars and nightclubs for a second time are receiving support from an unexpected source: The Ocala city government.

Reacting to Monday’s announcement by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn says he has no intention to enforce the state’s order — and he’s directed the police department to ignore any violations. “A great quote that a restaurant owner, bar owner,told me: He says, ‘Don’t tell me what I can’t do, tell me what I can do and let’s work within the can,’” Guinn says. “Which I think is spot on.”

Guinn says he’s not necessarily encouraging bar owners to break the law; he just feels it should be up to the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation to enforce it.

Given the data that proves the virus is easily spread in bars and nightclubs, what could Guinn be thinking? If an outbreak is traced to an Ocala bar, should Guinn be charged with a crime?