San Marco restaurant among businesses seeing fewer customers

Mayor imposes new limits on number of people allowed inside certain Jacksonville businesses at any one time

New restrictions slow restaurant traffic
New restrictions slow restaurant traffic

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Mom and pop businesses in San Marco were already seeing a reduction in customers due to fears surrounding the new coronavirus, and now they’re being told to put a cap on the number of people walking through the door.

Mayor Lenny Curry on Monday issued an order banning certain Jacksonville businesses, including restaurants and bars, from having more than 50 people inside at one time.

For Seafood Island Bar and Grille, the order comes on top of flooding during Hurricane Irma in 2017 and a fire in November that the San Marco restaurant has already had to deal with.

“We just reached our two-year mark here and this is not what we needed," Seafood Island Bar and Grille owner Charley Akel told News4Jax on Monday. “Today has not been very good after that news conference.”

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Akel said business recently slowed down because of coronavirus concerns, and the capacity limit is now forcing Akel to think outside the box to stay in business.

“A lot of my employees are wanting to work, and I said, ‘Well, we may be delivering food out there.’ So, they’re game for that," Akel said.

But Seafood Island Bar and Grille is not the only place that has slowed down in San Marco. During certain times of the day, it can be hard to find an available parking spot along San Marco Boulevard in San Marco Square. On Monday, however, there will plenty of parking spots available.

“It’s definitely taking a toll to our business and to San Marco," Akel said. "It’s a ghost town.”

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