How beaches businesses are preparing for a socially distant holiday weekend

Beaches Town Center in Atlantic Beach
Beaches Town Center in Atlantic Beach (Google Maps)

ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – Fourth of July plans may be different this year in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite there not being any fireworks at the beaches this year, businesses are still expecting a good crowd.

They’ve added signs on their doors, encouraging social distancing.

News4Jax spoke with some people who are choosing to stay home while others plan to practice social distancing at Jacksonville’s beaches.

“It’s a recipe for disaster,” said Travis King.

King said he’s staying home this Independence Day to avoid large crowds.

“I’ve decided that I have to cancel all my plans and try to stay safe for the community and try not to spread this as much as possible,” King said.

David Lucterhand and his wife came up from Miami. They already had their trip planned despite South Florida beaches being shutdown, but they’re glad they have more freedom staying in Atlantic Beach.

“Normally we would be at the Biltmore Hotel at Coral Gables on the 4th of July watching fireworks,” Lucterhand said.

Employees at Ragtime Tavern said they’re still expecting a good crowd despite COVID-19 regulations.

“I think that our customers love going out, and it’s always a tradition to come to Ragtime on the 4th of July and I think we’ll still remain busy. I don’t think it will affect anything,” said server Rebecca Larocca.

Larocca said the restaurant is taking every precaution necessary to make sure customers and staff stay safe.

“If you’re walking around, you have to have a mask. If you have to go to the bathroom, you have to have a mask. If you’re sitting at a table or at a bar, then you are able to take the mask off,” Larocca said.

Many of the restaurants in the Atlantic Beach area have been closing earlier than usual.

Ragtime Tavern closes at 10 p.m., but Hawkers across the street is staying open until midnight.

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