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Restaurants prepare for Mother’s Day and rain chances

Restaurants are banking on their outdoor seating when families visit on Mother’s Day Sunday. But the weather is going to play a big part on how successful business is over the weekend. And many of them we spoke to say they are already booked because of the restrictions caused by COVID-19.

Mother’s Day is a time when we want to take mom out to lunch or dinner. But, with restrictions in place such as 25% capacity and social distancing, it’s forcing some restaurants to only take reservations.

Others are still first come first serve but have expanded their outdoor seating, something that could be affected by Mother Nature on Sunday.

The Veranda in downtown Fort Myers reopened Wednesday and is prepared for a busy holiday under the 25% capacity guidelines.

“I didn’t expect this to take right off,” said Denny Genge, manager at The Veranda.

Right away, calls for reservations took off. Not only is The Veranda booked through the weekend, but many of the calls were for Mother’s Day.

“People are ready to get out,” Genge said. “They’ve been inside for quite a while now, and they want to get out and have a nice dinner. And we did book up kind of early on Mother’s Day.”

Some other downtown restaurants, such as Izzy’s and Cabos Cantina, aren’t re-opening until next week. Others, such as Ford’s Garage are still first come first serve.

But The Veranda says requiring reservations is making it easier to follow state and federal guidelines.

“You know what to expect, and you know how to space your tables,” Genge said. “We’ve taken tables out of the dining room, so that we do have that spacing. And we’re limiting ourselves to five table in the courtyard.”

Other restaurants we talked with say, because of capacity restrictions, most of their seating is now outside. And they’re hoping families can still celebrate mom while staying dry.

Unfortunately, we’re going to have a little rain,” Genge said. “But we can deal with that.”

A lot of the restaurants have already put umbrellas and canopies outside to make sure people can still dine at these restaurants during the rain.

Regardless of weather and other restrictions, restaurants say they’re just happy to be open again.

“We seem to be filling up pretty much every night,” Genge said. “And, until that changes with this situation, it’s really day to day.”

Reporter:Justin Kase
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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