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Restaurateurs welcome governor's announcement

April 30, 2020
Nathan Mayberg (Nmayberg@breezenewspapers.com) , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

The order announced by Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday to loosen restrictions at restaurants, will put employees back to work and open back up local establishments, local restaurant owners said.

The order allows for restaurants to have outdoor seating that meets social distancing guidelines, and indoor seating with a limit of 25% capacity.

Al Durett, owner of Fish-Tale Waterfront Dining on Fort Myers Beach, expects to reopen Monday following the governor's announcement. Durett called the restrictions on indoor and out outdoor seating "livable" and "doable."

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Durett, whose restaurant has been closed since March, said the dining facility is "the cleanest it's been" since opening in 2017. "Our employees have spit-polished to no end."

The time was overdue to open up restaurants for business, Durett said. He believes the "public will be very happy to go to dinner again." There will be sanitizers throughout the restaurant, Durett said. Durett said he has told employees to wash their hands a lot and "be very careful with what you touch."

His employees "have not missed a paycheck," Durett said. He received a federal loan through the Payroll Protection Program administered by the Small Business Administration to pay their salaries.

"I was very happy to do it," Durett said. "It's my responsibility to take care of them during this bad time. They have taken good care of me and my customers."

At the Lani Kai, marketing director Melissa Schneider said "our team has been in preparations for offering our great menu of options in the Sabal Palm restaurant on the first floor next to the lobby, and are making sure we continue to follow all rules and CDC guidelines regarding social distancing so our patrons can return with the peace of mind knowing we're doing everything we can to provide them with a safe, clean and fun beachside experience. Our Sabal Palm will offer breakfast, lunch and dinner options throughout the day and evening, and will even feature some of our award-winning Island View's fan-favorite dishes."

Martin York, managing partner of the Pierside Grill and Blowfish Bar, said the restaurant will open on Monday.

"Just thrilled that we can get back to serving our great customers," York said.

 
 

 

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