Panhandle tavern struggles to survive during the pandemic

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WASHINGTON COUNTY, Fla. (WDHN) — Danny and Norma Jean Price own and operate their tavern in the rural town of Caryville along the Washington/Holmes County line.

After shutting down restaurants and bars for more than a month and a half in the spring, Florida governor Ron DeSantis reopened the establishments for a brief two week period.

The governor then reordered the shut down of bars due to a skyrocketing number of corona-virus cases.

“He basically shut down the whole state of Florida down without even taking into effect what he was doing and affecting other people. At the same time, look at all the outdoor places that are now open and I don’t see them practicing any social distancing,” Norma Jean Price said.

As a small business, the couple has been unsuccessful in acquiring federal COVID-19 stimulus dollars. Despite the state closure of Norma Jean’s Roadhouse, the rent and other bills continue to arrive in the mail. They were forced to be closed on the July fourth weekend which is usually one of the most profitable times of the year in the food and beverage industry.

“What end are they closing businesses. What end are they putting authority on people where we can’t even open a business and make a living and we call them trying to find out what we can do, but we can’t get an answer because we don’t want to lose our license,” Danny Price said.

The couple says their customers are like family and they hope to reopen once permitted by Gov. Desantis.

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