Olean’s, other local restaurants keep safety protocols in place

Olean’s Caafe is located across the street from the FAMU entrance on South Adams Street. Photo by Dynasty Williams

Since late March, businesses all over Florida have been affected by the coronavirus, many of which have had government restrictions and implementations of their own to help protect themselves and their customers.

Local businesses in Tallahassee like I Heart Mac & Cheese, A Town Wings and Olean’s Cafe are just a few of the well-known  restaurants near FAMU’s campus that have been affected.

On Sep. 26,  Gov. Ron DeSantis lifted all restaurant restrictions and banned fines related to  not wearing face masks.

“The governor’s announcement Friday allows restaurants across the state to immediately reopen at full capacity — and prevents cities and counties from ordering restaurants to close or operate at less than half-capacity, unless they can justify a closure for economic or health reasons,” the Associated Press reported.

Although these rollbacks would allow restaurants to open back up to full capacity, many restaurants have struggled with the decision whether or not to do so.

A Town Wings, a small fast-food chain located near FAMU, has continued to keep its dining room open. However, it requires all customers to wear the proper face covering, according to employees Juan Diaz and Jo Jean-Pierre, a third-year music industry student atFAMU.

I Heart Mac and Cheese, another local restaurant located at700 WestGaines St., has decided to keep its dining room open and keep the mask mandate as well, according to Stephanie Downer, an employee at the restaurant.

Some public officials have about lifting all restrictions, and aren’t completely sure if they think this decision was best for the state of Florida.

“‘No one is advocating for a full-scale lockdown in Florida. But we have been and continue to ask for common sense prevention measures such as face masks, which are essential to preventing further spread,” state Sen. Audrey Gibson told the Associated Press just one day before the decision was enforced.

Owned by Olean McCaskill, Olean’s Cafe is a local soul food restaurant that located directly across the street from FAMU’s campus. Before the pandemic, Olean’s used to have a full dining room, but now only 10 people are allowed in the restaurant at a given time.

When asked if Olean’s would open the dining room back up to full capacity, McCaskill replied, “Not anytime soon, and masks are still going to be required.”

Though McCaskill did say business is still booming, and jokingly commented that people were still hungry.