Coronavirus rules impacting restaurants, customers

by Tallahassee Table

My heart goes out to all the people suffering because of the coronavirus and also to the many businesses hit so hard by the economic ramifications. It’s been a tough week for Florida’s restaurants and bars. Gov. DeSantis announced on March 17 that Florida restaurants can stay open with restrictions but ordered bars and nightclubs to close for 30 days effective at 5 p.m. on March 17.

This announcement came on St. Patrick’s Day, usually a huge day for local pubs. Several had events planned, including The Brass Tap – Midtown TallahasseeFinnegan’s Wake Irish Pub and Blue Tavern but instead of throwing a party they were closing their doors.

As for restaurants, DeSantis recommended that all restaurants follow California in reducing capacity by 50 percent and distancing tables to make sure there is six feet of separation between groups of diners.

He also encouraged restaurants to offer take-out or go take-out only.

Many restaurants, including fine dining establishments, have started offering take-out and curbside service, but it may not be enough to keep many businesses running during the crisis.

Today (March 18), Kool Beanz owner Keith Baxter wrote this post on his Facebook page:

“In order to keep my employees safe, because of the inevitable decline to nearly zero in sales, I am temporarily closing Kool Beanz.
For the many posts of encouragement and support, we all thank you.
We ‘ain’t going nowhere.
Please…everyone follow the regs, do the right thing and be safe. Extraordinary times require extraordinary measures.
See you all on the flip side”

Cypress has closed its dine-in operation until April 1 but is offering curbside service. Sage, Il Lusso, Lucilla and many other restaurants are joining casual eateries in offering curbside or takeout. Expect more to delivery. At Jeri’s Midtown Cafe, owner Jeri Madden will personally deliver orders for 10 or more.

There are some ways we can help. Get a gift card to be used later (some may be available online or if the restaurant is open, call directly to order one. If you don’t feel comfortable dining in, consider takeout or curbside service. We’re eager to hear any suggestions or thoughts from restaurants or customers. You can send your ideas or questions to Tallahassee Table on this website.

In an excellent article published in the Tallahassee Democrat on March 13, there’s a box to help restaurants get their messages and precautions across, including this info from The Tally Mac Shack (photo at top) and Slide Hustle. Here’s their practical procedure.

1.) Call in your order over the phone (our numbers are below)
2.) Pay over phone with a credit card
3.) Tell what car you are in
4.) Drive up and open your trunk – yes, your trunk!
5.) Food ???? will then place your order in the trunk
6.) #notevenplaying

Tour of Italy, Pita Queen, Aaru and Essence of India are among the restaurants that are offering their precaution measures. I stopped by Pita Queen on March 18, and Yocheved and Israel Artzi are taking precautions, wearing gloves, having sanitizer at their stand as they sell falafel sandwiches and their organic produce, breads and spreads.

Check the Facebook pages of your favorite restaurants to find out more about what they’re doing.

If you’re a restaurant, the Tallahassee Democrat is compiling information on what venues are doing to keep up with concerns. You’ll want to send your info to [email protected] Here’s some more info.


Do you own or work with a restaurant in the Tallahassee area? Let us know what changes you’re making due to coronavirus concerns. Are you expanding take-out or delivery service? Instituting a new cleaning regimen? Changing your sick leave policy? Send us an email at [email protected] so we can compile a list for our readers to help support your business and help readers decide the best places for them to go in the next few weeks.

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