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Cape Coral restaurants ready to reopen, serve customers under guidelines

We’re just hours away from phase one of reopening the state. And restaurants across Southwest Florida are ready to open their dining rooms.

After weeks of being shut down, Gov. Ron DeSantis says they’re allowed to open at 25% capacity and get people back to work.

We visited restaurants in Cape Coral Sunday to see what owners are doing to get ready for the first week of reopening.

On a normal weekend during this time of year, streets in in downtown Cape Coral would be bustling with people enjoying the restaurants and bars. But, because of the coronavirus pandemic, the streets are bare, and the restaurants are empty.

Owners are hoping tomorrow’s reopening is a step toward getting Cape Coral and many areas throughout the region back to normal.

“We’re ready to go tomorrow morning,” said Shannon Yates, the head cook and owner of Nevermind bar in Cape Coral. “We’re probably going to try to be ready to go by 10:30 or 11 for lunch.”

Yates is excited to be able to seat and serve customers again, even if it’s only 25% capacity indoors, observing social distancing and maintaining six feet between tables outdoors.

“We’re happy that we’re getting ready to go back open now and keep our people on the floor,” Yates said. “Tonight, we’ll make more adjustments, get our patios ready because the patios are the primary areas we can hit to serve lunch and dinner.”

Yates expects business to pick back up quickly, so he’s ready to hire extra sets of hands.

“We’re looking to hire another 10 people this week,” Yates said.

Just down the road, Duval Street restaurant was also preparing for a fresh start.

“I moved all the tables on the patio, and we bought a permit,” said Vollen Loucks, chef and co-owner of Duval Street. “And I have four more tables on the sidewalk on the other side … We entirely pressure cleaned the entire building outside”

Restaurant owners in the area told us they realize that things aren’t going to go back to the way they were overnight. But they say they are happy to get back to what they do best, and that’s serving you.

Although Loucks says the limited seating requirements won’t allow him to bring all of his staff members back yet, he said he’s hopeful that people will support his business and others in south Cape.

“I’m just hoping that people want to get out of their house,” Loucks said. “Come in, have some food, relax, have a cocktail and enjoy life again.”

Reporter:Breana Ross
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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