Eating In The Age Of Coronavirus: JLB Walks Us Through This New World
News-Press Empty tables sit between occupied ones Pierside Grill and Famous Blowfish Bar on Fort Myers Beach Wednesday March, 18, 2020. Restaurants are taking many more precautions amid the coronavirus pandemic including closing bars and restricting groups of more than10 people to stifle the pandemic.
Can we talk about something, anything besides coronavirus?
COVID-19 has changed the world as we know it.
It’s brought the restaurant industry to its knees. It’s sent us deep into our couches and back into our kitchens as we re-think our relationships with food.
I’m typing this week’s newsletter from the comfort of my living room, a dog at my feet, where I’ve been holed up, more or less, since Monday. My reviews are on hiatus. My best-of lists are, too. They can wait. Restaurants don’t need that kind of help right now. They need money. They need relief. They need to know their employees will be safe. Their customers, too.
This week the food team tried to shine a light on the dining impact of coronavirus in Southwest Florida.
Let’s get you caught up.
But first: The entirety of our coronavirus coverage, recipes and all, is available to you free and unlimited. Please (please, please) consider subscribing so we can keep working and writing for you. Click here for deals. The struggle is real
It seems easy to switch to takeout: order some boxes, some disposable forks and you’re good to go, right? Not quite. Already thin margins become far thinner on to-go orders. A takeout restaurant doesn’t require as much staff as a sit-down one, and not nearly as much space. How are restaurants coping with this shift? Annabelle Tometich braved the front lines (from a respectable distance) to find out. Coronavirus quarantine recipes
Whether you’re hunkering down out of an abundance of caution or self-quarantining for good reason, now is a great time to get back in our kitchens. Annabelle, a lifelong cook, found her muscle memory has lingered. If it’s been a while (or a lifetime) since you’ve cooked, our food team offers some basic refreshers and simple recipes to get you back in gear. 143+ restaurants & how they’re coping
From closures and free deliveries to curbside wine and toilet-paper cakes, Annabelle and Sarajane Sullivan compiled a massive and ever-changing list showing how 140 area restaurants (and counting) are dealing with this crisis. Find it here. The woman who ate everything — without leaving her car
Annabelle hit the road Wednesday to see just how much she could buy without leaving the relative safety of her minivan. From boozy ice cream to Cuban sandwiches and craft beer, I’d say she did well. See why curbside carryout (which has no fees, minimal contact and the same great food) could be the solution we need. What else?
• Are those tables properly spaced? On Tuesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered bars and nightclubs to close. He mandated restaurants slash their seating capacities by half and set tables 6 feet apart. What happens if they don’t? Jake Allen and Jessica Rodriguez found out.
• How did restaurants react to Tuesday’s orders from the governor? In a range of ways. Sarajane, Ryan Mills and Michael Braun told us more.
• Before coronavirus turned the world on its head, Gina Birch visited the new Ceviches by Divino for an early look at this modern, Peruvian concept in Fort Myers. Follow her Off the Eaten Path.
• I love restaurants. I cannot advise you to dine in them right now. Read more from me on the decision to halt reviews and save best-of lists for brighter days. Click here.
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