Downtown Pensacola restaurants, retailers grateful to be open

Coronavirus

PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — Restaurant owners and retail staff happy to be open Monday thanks to Phase I of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ reopening plan.

As of Monday, restaurants and retailers can open up their doors up to an indoor capacity of 25%. For restaurants, outdoor seating is also now allowed as long as tables are spread 6 feet apart.

At Cactus Cantina, 22 S. Palafox Street, employees were busy Monday afternoon serving customers inside and outside.

“They’ve been really excited that we’re opening,” said manager Kristie Isom-Brandon. “A lot of people are wanting to come inside. Our indoor seating has been a lot more popular than our outside seating right now.”

Isom-Brandon said staff is making sure they abide by the governor’s order, as well as customers.

“If customers get too close, we’ll just say, ‘Hey slide down a bit. Give your neighbor some space.’”

Retail stores were also open Monday.

Kandy McCloud, owner of Melobay, 122 S. Palafox Place, said her clothing store has been closed since March. McCloud was ecstatic to reopen her doors.

“We’ve had people coming in. They seem happy we’re open,” McCloud said. “Some of my regulars have come in, and we can only do air hugs right now.”

While it would be great to open at full capacity, business owners are grateful to be open at all.

“Being able to open up and seat people outside and serve at 25 percent capacity is really going to help us as a restaurant,” said Nathan Holler, owner of The Dog House Deli, 30 S. Palafox St.

Customers who were eating at Cactus Cantina said they enjoyed the table-side service.

“It’s been super nice,” said Pensacola resident Madelynn Gill. “We’ve been craving tacos, so now we can sit down at a restaurant and eat them and get our chips and salsa. It’s going to be good.”

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