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Popular Sarasota restaurant closed after employee dies of COVID-19


SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – Patrick Moore is devastated. He had just spoken with his employee and friend Mario last night and this morning, he learned Mario had passed away.

Moore is part owner of the Lucky Pelican, a popular restaurant in the Lakewood Ranch area of Sarasota.

Mario was a line cook at the restaurant. His last day at work was Friday. He started feeling under the weather after that shift and went and got tested. He soon learned he had COVID-19.

Out of respect for the family, Moore didn’t release Mario’s last name, but wanted to say a few things about his character.

“He’s going to be crazy missed. He had a great sense of humor and it was dry… He cared so much about what he did,” said Moore. “Like a lot of people in this industry, he worked two to three jobs, you know, for his kids. “

Moore had just spoken to Mario on Wednesday night.

“He told me that he felt fine, except he had a little hard time breathing,” said Moore. “I asked him, what do they recommend for you when you went and got tested. And well, you know, if you’re positive take some Tylenol and monitor your symptoms and go to the hospital if it gets worse.”

Mario never made it and died on Thursday morning.

The restaurant is now closed indefinitely. It posted a message on Facebook letting customers know.

Still, a number of customers drove by only to learn that the Lucky Pelican was not open. Brenda Hansen was one of them, and had just eaten there a couple of days ago.

“As a matter of fact, I was with a friend, we sat in that very corner there,” said Hansen. “Anyway, I’m going to call her.”

Moore says the staff at the restaurant is more like a family, and this was like losing a loved one.

“They are like a big family. A lot of us hang out, outside of work together. We celebrate our wins and support each other in our losses,” said Moore. “You know it’s hard, and all we can do to honor him is just keep trying to do our best.”

Moore recently started a GoFundMe page in honor of Mario in hopes of getting donations for his family. Click here to donate.


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