SANTA ROSA BEACH, Fla. (WMBB)–Each Spring, Walton County prepares for a surge in tourism. And as the coronavirus continues to spread, many people are still moving forward with travel plans.
“It does make you a little uneasy about being away from home but I think everybody’s going overboard with it I really do,” said Jeanine Francis, a tourist.
On Monday, Santa Rosa Beach was packed with tourists of all ages. They could be seen on the beach taking in the sun and not worrying too much about the coronavirus.
“It’s a little stressful because like it is so contagious but I feel like everyone is being very responsible with it,” said Madeline Hartman, a tourist.
With tourists continuing to flood the area, restaurants are shifting into high gear and taking precautions. They say they are prioritizing their customers’ safety.
Thomas Gallion, the owner of Shunk Gulley Oyster Bar, says they’ve already introduced many new practices.
“We’re currently taking extra precautions to wipe down all our menus, check presenters, all of our table tents and tables after every guest,” Gallion said.
Throughout the day, staff could be seen disinfecting surfaces and maintaining cleanliness. The restaurant is also doing its part when it comes to social distancing.
“We’ve taken the liberty of spacing all our tables, taking a few tables out, spreading all the tables 6-8 feet,” Gallion said.
With the restaurant having many open spaces that provide natural airflow from outside, they are not extremely concerned. Gallion says they will continue to serve their customers and take new precautions as necessary.
AJ’s in Grayton Beach is also being cautious. The bar has introduced a brand new takeout menu. A first for the restaurant. This allows customers to enjoy their meals without stepping foot in the restaurant. They have also begun to only use plastic cups and dishes in order to stop the spread of germs.
“We’ve created that 6 feet of space with the recommendation, we’ve removed some of the bar stools because people tend to congregate up in those areas,” said Heather Duncan, AJ’s Corporate Nurse.
As we head further into tourist season, many in the 30a area don’t think the virus will stop tourists from visiting their famous beaches.