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The Villages
Sunday, January 16, 2022

Town squares in The Villages heat up as Coronavirus caution cools off

Villagers came out in droves over the weekend, with many tossing social distancing rules to the wind amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Area residents crowded together in an impromptu dance floor at Margarita Republic in Spanish Springs Town Square late Sunday afternoon.
Neither social distancing nor masks seemed to be a concern among area residents dancing at Margarita Republic in Spanish Springs Town Square on Sunday.

Gov. Ron DeSantis approved an order Friday allowing gyms and fitness centers to reopen and restaurants to expand their capacity to 50 percent beginning Monday morning. That apparently gave Villagers the confidence to come out en masse, because they were dancing together and crowding together at various places, with lines of golf carts taking up many of the available parking spaces.

Sunday at Spanish Springs Town Square, area residents were crowded onto a makeshift dance floor on the tight patio of area of Margarita Republic. Entertainer Alan Ross was performing and customers had taken to the dance floor and were jammed tightly together, many without masks that have been recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Villagers and other area residents were crowded together Sunday in the outside patio/bar area of Red Sauce in Lake Sumter Landing.

In Lake Sumter Landing, crowds could be seen both Saturday and Sunday afternoon on the outside patio/bar area of Red Sauce. Many were sitting at the bar talking together, with several also not wearing masks.

Some residents gathered at Lake Sumter Landing and set up their own chairs to socialize. One group gathered near the empty pavilion and provided their own music for an impromptu line dancing session. They stayed mostly spaced apart but at times were closer than six feet. Most of them also weren’t wearing masks.

A long line of golf carts filled parking spots Sunday afternoon at Lake Sumter Landing.

Villages restaurants, many of which had been relying on takeout services to survive since March, had reopened earlier this month when DeSantis allowed them to have 25 percent capacity. Friday’s announcement gave them the opportunity to double that beginning Monday – as along as social distancing rules are observed and staff members are taking the appropriate precautionary measures.

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