Florida Capitol reopens to public

Florida Capitol reopens to public
Updated: May. 7, 2021 at 5:56 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The Florida Capitol is now open to the public after being closed for 14 months, including during this past Legislative Session.

Legislators are coming back the week of May 17th for a special session.

Members of the public can now get inside without a COVID-19 test or proof of vaccination. It’s not only the new Capitol building that’s open, but also the Historic Florida Capitol Museum.

Some of the first visitors to the newly reopened Florida Capitol: Majken Peterzen and her grandson.

They had a day of “firsts” for 3-year-old Mitchell.

“We’re doing big things,” said Peterzen. “We went to a construction site. Now we’re doing an elevator. Then we’re going to watch a plane land. And then he’s going to go ride an h-o-r-s-e!”

The two made their way to the top of the Capitol and took in the view.

“My children are out of town, so I have my grandson. And it was the perfect day to play hooky!” said Peterzen.

The Florida Capitol is not only a tourist attraction, but a place of work; some say work was made more difficult by the COVID-19 pandemic and the lack of access.

“I can count the times I’ve been down to the building, which is usually an incalculable number, when you get to the end of Session,” said longtime lobbyist Ron Book.

Book said it was difficult to interact with lawmakers and staff.

“Tough when you find an error in something to aggressively, if you will, advocate to replace, repair, fix amend,” said Book.

Most testimony during Session was remote.

“While I’ve been down to the Civic Center to testify, that is really rather challenging as an exercise in advocacy.”

Staff inside the Capitol told WCTV that it wasn’t too crowded with people visiting Friday, but they’re expecting this weekend to be a bit busier.

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