Some bars reopened in Petersburg Friday, May 8 as allowed under the state’s second phase of a plan to reopen businesses that have been closed for over a month.

Darcy Caples is co-owner of both the Harbor Bar and Kitos Kave. They both reopened at 10 a.m. Friday and already had customers.

“I’m actually sitting at my office right now and there’s probably seven people out there and I haven’t been back to Kitos again this morning since they opened so I’m not sure what’s going on over there I’m at the Harbor Bar right now,” Caples said. “Anyway yeah, the workers were all excited to come back to work and people have been texting my bartenders saying there were excited to come in and at least say hello. And we’ve done a lot of work at Kitos, replacing a lot of stuff and sanding and varnishing and doing a lot of stuff. So it will be good for people to go in and see what work that my brothers have been doing. Yeah we’re really excited to be open today.”

Those bars shutdown because of a state health mandate on March 18th. The businesses were allowed to continue selling through attached liquor stores but weren’t able to serve patrons on the premises during that time. Now that they’re allowed to reopen they do have restrictions. That means maintaining social distancing and a limit on the number of people inside to 25 percent of maximum capacity.

“So with Harbor Bar that’s about 20-25 people at a time and then with Kitos that’s about 40-45 people at a time.,” Caples said. “So you know it’s enough to have a good enough crowd to keep the doors open and stuff so. We’ll just do baby steps until we can take the giant leap to just be all over with all of this hopefully some day.”

The bars have removed some tables to allow for greater distancing inside and are asking people to have masks. Bars also have to develop a mitigation plan for measures to limit the spread of COVID-19. They’re required to do regular cleanings or shut down each week for at least 72 hours to allow for deactivation of the virus.

Other business restrictions were relaxed Friday, along with some limitations on social and religious gatherings. More changes may be on the way from the state depending on case counts and testing numbers.