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Open Letter from Chefs to … Well, Anyone Who Eats

How are restaurants handling the re-opening during the pandemic and what would they like to tell their clients and ... anyone else?

Various chefs and hospitality groups have taken to social and news medias to ensure they don’t go under and take their employees with them! Some have been very vocal, and here’s what they’re saying:

Are chefs against the rollback?

Most chefs haven’t been pushing back against the government’s back-stepping from the re-opening.

If anything, restaurant staff has seen first-hand how quickly social distancing went out the window, even if the majority did wear masks.

If restaurateurs can only host guests at outdoor seating, make more space for us!

Ocean Drive in South Beach, up until the fourth of July weekend was packed full of tourists. Although the hubbub has stopped, the restaurants on the iconic strip are now enjoying the permanent closure of the streets, allowing them to have more tables to cater to more guests. That’s one place where it’s worked.

Calle Ocho must be looking at Ocean Drive and the pedestrian zone of Lincoln Road with envy. Also in South Beach, the Lincoln Road restaurants on the weekend look almost as full as usual. Except there are now shut doors and empty spaces in between those restaurants whose outdoor tables are all full. The exorbitant rents forced some to close at the first dip in the economy.

Cubaocho on Calle Ocho, Little Havana. Photo by Phillip Pessar. Licensed under CC BY 2.0

On Calle Ocho (8th Street for the gringos) some restaurants have a very small outdoor seating area on the narrow sidewalks that line the famous street that seems to dance Salsa at all hours. Between the narrow sidewalks that only allow for a few tables outdoors and the social distancing of six feet, it’s got to be hard for the largely Hispanic owners to break even.

To avoid having several shuttered doors along Calle Ocho, the local newspaper, CalleOchoNews.com started a petition on Change.org to press the government to open up the streets for sidewalk tables.

To remain open, restaurant staff must follow rules, so please do so as well

Some restaurants have been posting their commitment to sanitation, such as Pinch Kitchen+Bar. They include extra measures, such as cleaning door knobs every hours, wiping counters and dining tables in between every guest and “no touch/hands-free” social distancing.

The Peruvian food restaurant, Divino Ceviche in Doral and Coral Gables, actually posted a video on their home page showing how they do social distancing delivery, temperature checks on clients, gloved workers cooking, spraying surfaces and more.

Divino Ceviche video, showing increased sanitation measures

Be kind. Take it easy on restaurateurs. They're dealing with a lot.

If you don't like how the government is handling things, being defiant with a staff member isn't going to make things any better, especially not for your favorite restaurants.

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