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As restrictions loosen, customers trickle back into restaurants in St. Johns County

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – Customers are finally able to sit down at restaurants again.

Monday was the first day for phase one of reopening Florida. That means restaurants can have customers dine in with restrictions.

It was pretty calm at the Nocatee Town Center, but News4Jax did see people sitting outside at the restaurants instead of inside.

Many customers said it was a good feeling to finally get out of the house and enjoy a meal at a restaurant.

Mike Milkey and his wife couldn’t wait to eat at Timoti’s Seafood Shack in Nocatee.

“It’s nice to be able to sit down and eat some good fried shrimp without having to take it home,” Milkey said.

General Manager Brandon Morris said the restaurant is excited to serve its customers instead of just take out.

“I think its more of a relief," Morris said. "Just because of this whole area that we’re in everybody was already determined to keep the local businesses open and now everyone can actually come here.”

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According to the guidelines for phase one of reopening Florida, restaurants can open dining rooms to 25% capacity. Customers dining outside must sit six feet apart.

Staff at Palm Valley Fish Camp say their customers couldn’t wait to make reservations.

“While the governor was making the announcement, easing our restrictions to 25 percent, we had guests that were calling in while that was happening,” said Eric Williams, Director of Operations for Southern Table hospitality.

Morris said for now, customers at Timoti’s only eat outside but he says phase one is a small step in the right direction to get things back to normal.

“Definitely a small step and we’re taking those steps very, very carefully,” Morris said.

Restaurants are still offering take out and curbside pick up and encourage customers to utilize those options as well.


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