RESTAURANTS AND BARS
During the shutdown, Pacicca reached out to several organizations
to see if they could use Prima’s commercial kitchen to help
the community. He had no takers, but many have communicated
to him that they’re sorry the restaurant closed. Everyone understands
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the difficulty small businesses have faced.
“I’d like to reset 2020,” Brooker says. “It’s a stressful time everywhere,
but Jensen is a tight community. The public appreciates
the extra details. There’s good people here.”
Ordinarily, summer is off-season for local restaurants. Snowbirds
have flown home. This year, however, many stayed to avoid
greater risks up north. Even at a reduced capacity, Olson says
they’re seeing average summer numbers. “A lot of our regulars are
coming back in.”
“There’s quite a demand,” Replogle says. “People want to go
out. They see Vero as safe because our (virus) numbers have been
low. We’re also getting people from central and south Florida who
want to enjoy the beach and get away from home.”
One of the biggest financial setbacks has come from the loss
of alcohol sales, but once it was allowed to open up at 25 percent
capacity and expanded the patio area, Castaways “picked up right
where we left off,” Brooker says. By June, sales were “outstanding.”
In Stuart, businesses were still adjusting to reopening when the
Roosevelt Bridge was closed for repairs — another setback. But
Horton remains optimistic.
“This is the most troubling time for the restaurant business and
for all small business owners but … with the support of our loyal
local customers we will make it through this too,” he says.
As of June 26, bars were closed due to lack of cooperation
regarding social distancing. Restaurants deriving less than 50
percent of their income from alcohol sales were safe for the time
being, even possibly helped by the governor’s executive order.
Instead of going to a bar, customers could get that drink with dinner
elsewhere — with social distancing in place.
The roller coaster ride continues. Things change week to week,
sometimes day to day. While the CDC still regards dining out to
be a risk, area restaurants are reducing the risk with sanitizing and
social distancing protocols in view.
Stay home if ill. Wear masks until seated. And tip your server
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Fort Pierce closed off a block of downtown Second Street to help restaurants
accommodate social distancing. 2nd Street Bistro’s eight tables in the space
see a lot of business, especially at night.