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Palm Beach County restaurants prep to reopen with new restrictions

Posted at 6:23 PM, May 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-11 17:33:52-04

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — As Palm Beach County prepares to enter Phase One, restaurants spent most of the weekend making last minute preps to reopen and comply with new restrictions.

Evo Italian Restaurant in Jupiter isn’t what it used to be. What was once inside is now outside due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“It has impacted my business by a tremendous amount,” said Erik Petterson, Chef and Owner of Evo Italian Restaurant. “You’re losing alcohol revenue, I’m losing wine revenue, I’m losing bar business, on top of the fact that there are people that are outright scared to come out even to pick up curbside take out.”

The past few days he and his employees have been hard at work moving most of the dining room furniture outside and making changes. All in an effort to comply with the state's new regulations and to keep his customers safe.

Starting Monday restaurants in Palm Beach County can reopen, however, indoor dining can only operate at 25% capacity. Outside seating, must be 6 feet part.

“My job right now is to make everybody feel comfortable,” said Petterson. "There is hand sanitizer literally on every table, hand sanitizers on the way to the bathroom, I have a hand sanitizer before you come in the door.”

Down I-95 in Delray Beach, a similar scene at Ellie’s 50's Diner. Owner, Bob Smela, said he’s also taken a hit and has adapted to the new restrictions.

When diner return on Monday they will notice more spacing between seats and there’s also a new set up in the banquet hall and patio.

“What I did is I took my banquet hall which we do weddings and everything back there and I converted it into an Elvis Presley room cafe and we are also doing 6 feet apart there,” said Smela.

Despite having to adjust to the new norm both owners say they are looking forward to reopening on Monday.