Though it might feel like the state just reopened, the coronavirus has already closed some businesses again. In the period between May 4 and May 26, citizens launched 335 complaints against restaurants not following social distancing rules.
If eateries want to open back up, they must currently follow certain guidelines. Owners and staff are to limit capacity to 50%. Workers must also enforce social distancing. Many owners require employees to wear masks. Staffs follow strict sanitization. But climbing case numbers have caused some businesses to shutter early.
Coronavirus Complications and Enforcement Fails
For some businesses, it can be difficult to manage new rules. Social distancing requires staff to have eyes on their customer base at all times. And while some people happily adhere to new norms, others disregard restaurant rules. Not all restaurants work hard to follow rules, either. At 50% capacity, their profits suffer. Distancing carries inherit financial risk. Some eateries cannot afford to operate like that.
Part of the problem lies in the fact that no one appears to be enforcing rules. Of the 335 cases mentioned above, USA Today found no fines or disciplinary actions followed. Thus, some places continue to ignore public health rules. If they won’t face consequences, why let business suffer?
The subject of reopening is a tough issue. There is no perfect solution. Allowing businesses to reopen cuts down on unemployment benefits. Workers who are asked to return to work and refuse can lose their aid. Many cannot afford that loss. Servers living with immune-compromised loved ones face a tough choice.
And fear about the coronavirus persists in patrons, too. Plenty are choosing to stay indoors.
Then, businesses themselves face a Catch-22. Opening their doors is still financially risky. Staying closed doesn’t bode well, either. And even if they manage to profit, health risks weigh on the consciences of many owners. Pharmacy, a restaurant in Doctor Phillips, recently had to close its doors again after an employee tested positive. Jeremiah’s Italian Ice of Waterford Lakes faced the same dilemma.
On May 24th, businesses began to reopen. The number of cases in Florida that day clocked in around 740. One month later, the states is reporting 3,286 active cases. Many factors could be at play. Is Florida testing more people? Were there more asymptomatic people before? (Those not showing symptoms are less likely to know they are ill.)
In any case, it’s worth being cautious. The CDC recommends washing your hands as often as possible. Masks may play a role in stopping the spread. Patio dining is preferable to indoor seating. And if you feel unwell, stay home. Your health and the health of those around you is important.