Cocoa Beach beachfront businesses near empty as Hurricane Dorian threat looms

Tracking the Tropics

COCOA BEACH, Fla. (WFLA) – Labor Day weekend is supposed to be one of the biggest and busiest weekends on the beach during the year.

However, with the threat of Hurricane Dorian hanging over the state of Florida, that’s not the case along Cocoa Beach.

“We’re located next to Allen Shepherd Park and Allen Shepherd Park is a really busy public park for the beach access. And no one’s been through,” said owner of Captain J’s restaurant, Jason Pun.

“We usually get hundreds of visitors every day and it’s just been one of those days that drives everyone away. It’s a gorgeous day but the hurricane is just going to kill it all.”

His says his restaurant doesn’t have days like this often.

At the neighboring Sandbar, a few locals joked they were “having a pre-hurricane party.”

Even with the locals hanging out, manager Frank Figueroa said business is slow.

“Everyone is kind of scared. Obviously we still have our dedicated locals who come out no matter what. But it is taking a little bit of a hindrance, especially when we’re supposed to be preparing for one of our busiest weekends of the year,” Figueroa said.

Sandbar will remain open until a mandatory evacuation notice would come down, but they are preparing for the potentially major storm with generators, sandbags and storm shutters.

Figueroa said the restaurant is also keeping its inventory low throughout the weekend.

“I believe the last time there was a major storm we did lose power, we threw away thousands of dollars’ worth of merchandise, a lot of food. So we’re trying to keep things minimal,” Figueroa said.

At Captain J’s, workers will begin to roll back awnings and board up windows Thursday night.

Pun had some advice for Floridians preparing for the storm.

“Water causes a lot more damage than you think it does. Water is probably the biggest contributing factor to property damage. So make sure you sandbag up any openings and doorways so that water doesn’t flow in and cause damage to your baseboards and your stucco and things like that,” Pun advised.

For the very latest on Hurricane Dorian and the storm’s track, click here.

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