SIESTA KEY, Fla. (WFLA) – After missing an uptick in customers during the Spring Break season, business owners and managers in this beach town tell 8 On Your Side they are glad Ocean Boulevard is bustling again for Memorial Day weekend.
But there are noticeable changes at restaurants that have reopened during Florida’s Phase One.
“We can’t seat at the bar, but we hope that will change soon,” said Kristin Hale, the general manager at Siesta Key Oyster Bar.
Parties checking in at the oyster bar will notice plexiglass has been installed at the host stand. The wait will also likely be longer with fewer tables available inside and on the patio.
Hale said these adjustments are worth it to welcome back customers after weeks of being shut down.
“To have to go through another holiday and not be open, I don’t know what I would do, what it would do for all the businesses out here,” she said.
On the street, 8 On Your Side did not see many visitors wearing masks, but a giant sign says they are in stock now at the Sandal Shop.
“They’re very comfortable, just hooks around your ears,” assistant manager Kim Ryan said.
Buffs that can cover the face are more popular than ever, Ryan added.
At Flavio’s Brick Oven and Bar, guests are dining at tables under a tent in the parking lot.
“That will help a lot with the COVID-19 situation,” owner Flavio Cristofoli said. “People like to eat outside so its a good plus for us.”
Inside his restaurant, Cristofoli showed 8 On Your Side his new disposable menu and wine list.
“We need to go that direction to make everybody safe,” he said.
His restaurant has been in Siesta Key for nearly three decades, so Cristofoli is relieved to have weathered another storm.
“We go through a lot of stuff,” he said. “Hurricane, red tide, but this was the worst.”
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