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SWFL restaurants have tough decision to open or close for July 4 weekend

Restaurants are facing a difficult choice ahead of this Fourth of July weekend amid a spike in coronavirus cases in the region and state.

Two Naples restaurants are closing for the weekend because they are worried about the crowds over the holiday.

And a Cape Coral bar changed its business model to stay open by serving more food but said it’s also worried about the spread.

“It’s hard for a business owner to even make the right decision for what’s right what’s wrong,” said owner Mike Lehnberg of Lehne Burger in Cape Coral.

Businesses must weigh keeping their doors open to turn a profit or focus more on safety and prevention due to COVID-19.

“All the local businesses here because we fight so hard together to keep business running, work together,” Lehnberg said.

After performer Charles Peterson went back to work, singing at restaurants and bars, he tested positive for the coronavirus.

“You think you’re doing everything correct on sanitizing and wearing mask and keeping the table separated, making sure people aren’t grouping,” Peterson said. “All it takes is one person in there that doesn’t know they have the virus.”

Now, Campiello and The Continental restaurants in Naples are closing Friday through Sunday due to, “the anticipated surge of visitors from the East Coast of Florida and other hot spots.

“Nobody can guarantee 100% safety during this time right now,” Lehnberg said.

The Dek Bar in Cape Coral posted online it will be closed until further notice, since, “Several cases of COVID-19 have possibly stemmed from other locations in southeast Cape Coral, and we did not want to be next.” The Dek said being open would put its family, staff and guests at risk.

Dek Bar also posted online it’s sending support to those who knew guitarist AJ Mullins of The Collaboration Band, who died from the coronavirus recently. While Mullins did not perform recently at the Dek Bar, he was well known in Cape Coral

“You can follow all the guidelines and procedures to a T and still come out a victim,” Peterson said.

“It could happen for everybody” Lehnberg said.

But closing down is not a trend everywhere in the region, especially since it’s the only way for many to feed their own families.

“I ride that line on determining what is the right thing to do,” Peterson said. “Half of me says we got to work, and the other half of me says we’ve got to protect ourselves.”

Reporter:Anika Henanger
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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