More businesses set to open under ‘full phase one’

By | May 16, 2020


Restaurants and retail stores can increase their capacity to 50% Monday, and gyms can reopen under guided restrictions. Professional sports teams are welcome to Florida, and venues can open and operate for games, the governor said.

Friday, we wanted to know how restaurants are doing under current restrictions.

We spoke with two local restaurants that are once again allowing guests into their dining rooms. Both establishments told us that business has been pretty good, considering social distancing guidelines.

But other businesses excluded from Phase 1 are just hoping for some guidance about when they’ll be allowed to reopen their doors.

The Oasis Restaurant in Fort Myers reopened last Monday.

“A lot of our snowbirds came, and a lot of locals came,” Oasis co-owner Bonnie Grunberg said. “And so we did OK.”

Grunberg is happy the governor is expanding capacity restrictions to 50%, but, with social distancing continuing, things might not change much at the current capacity for Oasis.

“Right now, we’re at about every other table,” Grunberg said. “And at 50 percent, as long as we’re doing social distancing, I believe we’re going to be right about every other table.”

Grunberg is a supporter of safety guidelines such as social distancing, so she doesn’t mind if her restaurant won’t be able to serve more customers.

But other types local businesses are still hoping for guidance about when they can reopen.

“I’m not bitter at all,” said Jason Raleigh, the owner of Webbworks Tattoo Studio in Naples. “We just want to know.”

And while he watches the barber shop and nail salon next door reopen, he’s hoping for clarity from the governor’s office.

“Everything is sterilized. Everything is clean,” Raleigh said. “We got all the safety gear, masks, face shields, arm covers. We’re going to be covered from head to toe.”

We reached out to the governor’s office about when tattoo parlors could open but have not heard back.

Some restaurants in downtown Naples aren’t open yet. Their voicemails said they’d be opening next week. Others we spoke to said they’re also not adding extra tables to their dining rooms, also noting social distancing.

The governor’s “full phase one” plan does not mention tattoo parlors.

“We’re going to be safe about it,” Raleigh said. “We’re not trying to spread it, you know.”

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