Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has revealed his plan to slowly reopen the state of Florida for business. Phase I will allow restaurants and retailers to open with a 25% occupancy rule inside. Restaurants can set up tables outside but they must be at least 6 feet apart. Residents and businesses are still expected to adhere to the CDC’s social distancing guidelines, as well.
Bars, nightclubs and gyms will remain closed during Phase 1 of re-opening. While personal care services such as barbershops and salons with close contact should remain closed, the portions of those businesses with on-site retail sales may re-open at 25 percent building occupancy.
Those caught violating these rules could face a second-degree misdemeanor with a fine up to $500. Certain regulated businesses may face enforcement action for violations from their regulatory agency.
Museums and libraries may also open according to their local counties.
Businesses can reopen, but will they?
Just because a business can open, doesn’t mean it has to. We reached out to restaurant and business owners in St. Petersburg to see how they’re responding to the Governor’s plans.
“Red Mesa Restaurant Group will remain take out and carry out only until we feel it is safe to resume normal business operations,” said Tony Pullaro, Marketing Director for Red Mesa, in an email to I Love the Burg. “We look forward to continuing to serve our guests delicious take out options while ensuring the safety of our employees and customers.”
Order from any of Red Mesa’s restaurants by visiting their new Red Mesa To Go website.
Pacific Counter finds new ways to reach customers
Pacific Counter has operated on curbside pickup and delivery, and even launched their own in-house delivery service to keep their staff through this difficult time. The owners have opted to continue on a takeout and delivery basis for now.
“We have decided to stay the course with Takeout and Delivery for the time being, but will be setting up outdoor tables for guests to dine at if they’d like to remain on premise,” wrote Tanner Loebel, co-owner of Pacific Counter, to I Love the Burg. “This decision was mostly made due to the size and layout of Pacific Counter. Although we could limit our dining room to 25% capacity, it would be difficult to remain within proper social distancing guidelines given the configuration of the restaurant. We want to do everything in our power to move past this, so we can get everyone back open sooner than later!”
You can see Pacific Counter’s full menu, and place an order for pickup/delivery, by visiting the restaurant’s website. You can also follow Pacific Counter on Facebook and Instagram for business updates.
Boozy desserts on the go at Beans & Barlour
Story Stuart, owner of Beans & Barlour, has worked tirelessly to feed St. Pete residents something sweet during this tough time. Stuart even gave out hundreds of rolls of toilet paper for free to the public in an effort to ease some of the burden many have been feeling. The boozy dessert bar currently offers tasty pints, and cocktails to go, in addition to their famous chocolate cups and dishes. Beans & Barlour’s indoor seating area will remain closed to the public, but Stuart is setting up new tables outside for guests who would like to enjoy their dessert on premise.
“We are in the process of removing all of our outside couch seating since it is not best suited for social distancing, and replacing them with new bistro sets that will be perfect to space out between the space in front of Beans & Barlour and St Pete Brewing Company,” said Stuart. “We will be allowing on premise consumption, but only outside. I think it’s safest to let the inside remain for employees only for right now.”
Urban Brew & BBQ creates a grocery program for customers
Andy Salyards, owner of Urban Brew & BBQ, has pivoted during this pandemic and found ingenious ways to serve his community, and help his staff. Urban Brew & BBQ launched an all new grocery pickup/delivery program from its restaurant, that features proteins, veggies, and bottled cocktails. You can learn more and sign up for alerts by visiting Urban Brew & BBQ’s website.
Salyards is also launching a Mother’s Day promotion to provide something special for single mothers in the city. The restaurant is going to deliver a handmade card, orchid, and a prepared brunch to any single mother that wants something special during these crazy times. Please see the menu on their website.
“It looks like we’ll be open patio only starting on Monday,” wrote Salyards. “We’ll stick with counter service and may go with all digital menus and customers utilizing their phones.”
Delivering books on bike
Tombolo Books, a new independent bookstore in the Grand Central District, has transitioned to delivery and shipping to protect employees and customers. Owner Alsace Walentine can be seen riding her bike packed with book and puzzle deliveries for residents in the downtown area nearly every day.
The store currently offers no contact delivery from Bayshore West to 34th Street and 22nd Avenue South to 30th Avenue North. They can also able to ship books anywhere in the country. You can shop their full selection on the Tombolo website.
As of today, the bookstore will continue as is with online orders for delivery and shipping, said Walentine in a message to I Love the Burg.
Other restaurants that have closed down amid the pandemic are making plans to reopen in May.
Bodega and Love Food reopening in May
Debbie Sayegh, co-owner of Bodega and Baba on Central, says both restaurants will reopen the week of May 4. They will offer takeout, and outdoor patio seating. Follow Bodega on Facebook and Instagram for updates. Keep up with Baba on Facebook and Instagram, too. Indoor dining isn’t planned at this time.
Love Food Central, the ‘Burg’s delicious vegan, gluten-free restaurant, closed its doors a few weeks ago. The restaurant plans to reopen the week of May 12 with limited hours. They’ll offer takeout and outdoor seating only at first. Follow Love Food Central on Facebook and Instagram to keep up with all the restaurant updates. You can support the restaurant and its amazing staff while it readies to open by purchasing a gift card for future use.
Kriseman won’t add further restrictions on businesses
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman released a statement following the Governor’s announcement.
“I want to be clear that the state’s order does not require restaurants and retail establishments to open on Monday, it simply permits them to do so if they choose to do so. Our current reading of the recent order is that localities cannot expand the governor’s restrictions, only further restrict them, and I will not do that in this instance.”
How is your local business responding to the Governor’s orders? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the name of your restaurant/business in the subject line.