At their quaint Venezuelan eatery in Pembroke Pines, Jeffrey Calero and his family have played by every rule when it comes to COVID-19 safety protocols.
“We do abide by the masks, making sure everyone wears them, although it is something that most people don’t want to do," Calero said, "We try to make sure everyone keeps them on when they use the restroom or they’re ordering so that people who are dining in do feel at home."
People don’t have to wear masks while sitting at a table, according to state guidelines, however, enforcing people to wear masks while moving around the restaurant isn’t always easy to enforce, according to Calero, who recalled a recent incident.
“I told him upon leaving, I said, ‘Hey this is a friendly reminder, next time make sure you wear your mask when you use the restroom,' and he didn’t like it too much," Calero said. "I guess he wasn’t for the mask, and he said, 'Don’t worry, there won’t be a next time.' Little things like that really affect us."
The staff at Taquiza, a Mexican craft taqueria located in North Beach and South Beach, told a similar story.
“We’ve had to remind people, please do not enter the premise without a mask. We’ve have recently also had guests who opted out to leave because they didn’t want to wear the mask,” said marketing staff member Aubrey Swanson, who also pointed out the danger of a staff member being infected with COVID-19.
“We would have to isolate them, we would have to shut down," Swanson said. "We would have to test everyone. It’s a really big deal if someone on our team gets it because obviously, they are dealing with everyone."
Some restaurants also fear the recent rise in COVID-19 cases would lead to a reversal of dining-in and going back to take-out, which could lead to a loss of jobs or the closure of a restaurant.