Beach restaurants challenged by COVID-19 readying for holiday crowds

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GULF SHORES, Ala. (WKRG) — A red, white and blue weekend is just ahead and while there is an uptick in coronavirus cases nationwide, it doesn’t seem to be slowing anyone down. Folks from across the country are headed to Alabama’s beaches.

“We were concerned because Alabama has been in the news a lot, but we thought if we took the proper precautions it would be ok to still come down,” says Josh Jacobson vacationing from Oklahoma.

Signs of coronavirus have been popping up in Alabama’s coastal communities. Since last Friday, a dozen restaurants in Orange Beach and Gulf Shores have temporarily closed after positive tests for COVID-19. Over the weekend, it happened at Desoto’s Seafood Kitchen. “So we made the decision that we were going to be upfront, honest, transparent, responsible, close, notify our employees and our patrons of everything we were trying to do,” says owner Rosemary Steele.

The entire building has now been deep-cleaned. “We didn’t even have to close down or notify anyone we just thought it was best practices to do that to be upfront with everybody,” says Steele.

Extending Alabama’s “Safer at Home” order through the end of the month will continue to challenge businesses in what has already been a season of change. “This is just one more obstacle we can learn from and make it through,” says Steele. “We’re going to make it through.”

All of the restaurants have reopened except Desoto’s. They will reopen Thursday for their lunch crowd.

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