Michael's on East feeling effects of pandemic, statewide restaurant shutdown.
Sarasota’s iconic Michael’s on East restaurant has shifted its operations to curbside pickup and by offering free delivery amid a statewide restaurant shutdown that took effect Friday.
During the week of March 16, the restaurant had curtailed indoor seating by 25% and temporarily shut down its catering business in response to Centers for Disease Control and Florida mandates regarding eateries.
More than 80 catering events that were scheduled to be held in the weeks since the pandemic crisis worsened in the U.S. earlier this month have been canceled.
Co-owner Michael Klauber says the business has lost roughly $1 million in revenue since the coronavirus began affecting Florida, at a time that is typically its busiest season for diners and gatherings.
“The biggest challenge we’re facing right now is the uncertainty,” says Klauber, who has co-owned the popular dining destination for three decades.
“But it’s really impacted us. We’ve lost almost $1 million, and that’s just what I can put a pencil on right now because of the catering business.”
Restaurateurs statewide have been scrambling to keep their kitchens and doors open in response to the virus and rules imposed to limit its spread.
On Friday, March 20, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered that all sit-down restaurants shut their doors in an effort to contain the virus, which has infected more than TK people in the U.S. and killed TK to date.
In doing so, Florida followed examples set by California and New York, which also ordered restaurants to shut down for the foreseeable future.
Klauber, for his part, says Michael’s on East will offer free delivery within a certain radius of the East Avenue restaurant as well as curbside pickup of food for the foreseeable future.