Island’s restaurant industry responds to peak of COVID by stepping up security measures | Biscayne Key


The spike in the number of positive COVID cases in Florida and Miami-Dade County – as Florida reported more than 21,000 cases in a 24-hour period on Saturday – brings nasty memories to the food industry around the world. ‘Isle.

“We went back there, at full speed,” said Yesenia Randazzo, owner of Italian restaurant Randazzo’s, in reference to security protocols. “We don’t want to go back to the madness of last summer. We must avoid any containment or any more stringent measures. “

Many restaurateurs we spoke with shared the same thought, many focusing on vaccinating their staff.

“The whole team is fully vaccinated,” said Antonio Braschi, owner of the Costa Med Bistro and Kazumi restaurants, where all safety protocols are followed regarding masking and disinfection policies. “Our service and kitchen staff wear masks and we always disinfect tables and chairs after each use. The safety of customers and staff remains paramount. Braschi added that even though everyone is vaccinated, they continue to regularly test their staff.

Gladys Arneri from Milanezza told Islander News that “we have never stopped adhering to security protocols over the past year, with the exception of opening for indoor dining.” All staff wear masks and tables are disinfected.

At Winn Dixie, their policy of “encouraging” the wearing of masks remains in effect.

“We remain committed to caring for and supporting the communities we serve while following local, state and federal guidelines,” said Meredith Hurley, director of public and community relations for Southeastern Grocers, the parent company of Winn Dixie. , in an email to Islander News.

“With the increase in COVID-19 cases, we continue to encourage customers to practice social distancing and wear masks when shopping in our stores,” said Hurley.

Reina Gonzalez, who, along with her husband David Gonzalez, owns Boater’s Grill, Lighthouse Café and Cleat inside Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, said staff were fully vaccinated and added: ” Our service staff have never stopped wearing masks.

At Italian restaurant La Scala, owner Chandra DeSilva, whose team is fully vaccinated, says he wants to be “responsible in his dealings with his customers.” He said they used to wear a mask all the time. “We have never stopped wearing a mask, but we want to make sure there is no failure.”

DeSilva also provides hand sanitizer to every table and has started steam sanitizing the restaurant daily. “You can’t be too careful. “

Randazzo said that at one point he had a fully vaccinated waiter who wouldn’t wear a mask on the way to the tables, but this person now wears a mask all the time. “and our kitchen staff have never stopped wearing masks,” Randazzo said.

As with many operators we have spoken with, Braschi de Costa Med is hoping the new restrictions will not be as onerous as those of last summer. “A repeat of last summer’s lockdown is not the solution, we all need to act responsibly and safely. We will continue to do our part to put the safety of our staff and customers first. “

Randazzo agrees. “I think if we work together as a community, and we all get serious about our safety again, we can put those numbers back in the right direction again.” “

This is echoed by all the operators we spoke to.

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