FLAGLER BEACH, Fla. – Johnny D’s Beach Bar and Grill is getting some business, thanks to Flagler County leaders lifting the time restrictions and keeping the beaches open around the clock.
The beaches reopened for limited hours in the morning and evening last week before county officials announced they would be open at all hours beginning Sunday.
“We’re actually seeing some progress today," restaurant owner John Davis said. “People are out, they’re coming to get lunches to go.”
Davis said it’s been a devastating because he can only afford to keep a handful of folks employed. He had to lay off 20 employees now that he’s only doing take-out orders. Under an executive order from Gov. Ron DeSantis all restaurant closed their dinning rooms.
“It has picked up enough to create four jobs. So, it’s helping. It’s not paying our major bills but it is keeping four people a paycheck," Davis said. “I don’t have the words to express what we’re going through. My life savings is just going out the window faster than I can even wave bye-bye to it.”
He hopes that people will continue taking advantage of the beach and make his restaurant a must stop for lunch.
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The Golden Lion Cafe hasn’t made one dollar since shutting down completely last month, according to owner Chris Marlow.
“Unfortunately, this is the busiest time of the year, so it couldn’t have come at a worse time,” Marlow said.
Marlow said he decided to keep the decades old restaurant closed for everyone’s safety and is hopeful their businesses will continue to survive COVID-19.
“We’ve seen wildfires, we’ve seen hurricanes and 9/11,” he said.
Marlow said his team is busy changing the restaurant to be in compliance with social distancing and might reconsider opening the doors for take-out.
“Our main priority is keeping everyone safe. We want the staff to be safe, we want the guests to be safe. But, recently, they’ve opened up the beach so maybe that’ll change things,” he said.
Florida remains under a stay-at-home order until Thursday. The governor has not announced an extension or when businesses can re-open.
Both restaurant owners said they’re staying positive as they anxiously wait for their doors to open full time. Davis said the first thing he’ll do is bring back all his staff.
“As soon as we can go, twenty people are going back to work,” he said.
Marlow is hoping his doors will open sooner rather than later and stay open.
“It just seems like the hits just keep coming but hopefully this will be the last one for a little while. Fingers crossed, we’ll have a mild hurricane season and we can all go back to making some money soon,” Marlow said.