TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. (WFLA) – A Tarpon Springs restaurant has delayed its reopening out of an abundance of caution.
Rusty Bellies Waterfront Grill closed their doors earlier this weekend due to coronavirus exposure.
The restaurant owners got a call from one of their 75 employees Friday saying they tested positive for the virus. They said they would reopen Tuesday but say they are now choosing to remain shut down and are taking extra precautions on behalf of helping the community stay safe.
“At first you want to hide under a rock because you know, you’re one of the first. But we felt we needed to be transparent,” said Jullie Russell, one of the owners of the family-owned restaurant. “Our customers trust our seafood and trust what we do here,” said Russell.
Managers at Rusty Bellies said they would not let any staff back in the building until they test negative. So now instead of waiting tables, the wait staff is waiting on test results.
“It’s one of our favorite restaurants in Tarpon Springs,” said Donna Kiessling who showed up at the restaurant ready for lunch Tuesday. “We’re very supportive, we’re happy they’re trying to be safe,” said Kiessling.
This restaurant isn’t alone. Multiple bars and restaurants in St. Petersburg have temporarily closed their doors after some of their employees tested positive and fear of spikes in Pinellas County. Those restaurants include The Galley, Park and Rec DTSP, The Avenue Eat + Drink, and Hawkers St. Pete.
“We’re on vacation from Indianapolis. We come here every year and we can’t leave town without leaving Rusty Bellies,” said John Lynch who showed up for lunch.
“My employees and family, they all want to work. They miss being around other people but at this point, we need to do what is safe. Even though there are guidelines you can only go by your best judgment so we’re staying closed for a little while,” said Russell.
All of the restaurants we mention in this article are asking customers to monitor their social media pages for when they’ll reopen.