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Restaurateurs welcome governor’s announcement

By Staff | Apr 30, 2020

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

In Cape Coral, Fish Tale Grille co-owner Patrick Krieg said he expects the new order to allow more than 40 people at a time to be eating at his restaurant, between indoor dining and two decks outside.

“It’s definitely a step in the right direction,” Krieg said. “We’re happy that it’s progressing down this road finally.”

The order will allow the restaurant to bring back employees who have been sidelined since the governor limited restaurants to carryout, curbside and delivery statewide in March.

Krieg said he was taking the order’s guidelines involving social distancing “very seriously.”

Krieg said those returning to dine at the restaurant will notice sanitizers and dispensers throughout the restaurant.

“We’ve always been very diligent when it comes to sanitization,” he said. Employees have been wiping down counters and door handles “a lot more,” Krieg said.

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.”

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.”

Durett said the time was overdue to open up restaurants for business. 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.”