Palm Beach restaurateurs reopen to put ‘people back to work’

Officials allow 25% capacity during reopening of restaurants, retail

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. – Bagel Works in Boca Raton reopened Monday morning. About a dozen employees there are looking forward to going back to work. The indoor and outdoor tables were empty. Customers still appeared to prefer the delivery and to-go service.

Five weeks and three days after the initial coronavirus pandemic lockdown, employees of the Rocco’s Tacos in Palm Beach County were also eager to have the Mexican restaurant reopen. The hostess stood outside and most customers were at outdoor tables.

“We are trying to keep people away from each other,” said Rocco Mangel, the owner of the restaurant, adding it hasn’t been difficult. “We haven’t seen that mad rush of people yet.”

Mangel said for him reopening is not about making money; it is about survival and “putting people back to work.” Before the pandemic, he said his restaurant employed 983 people. And by Friday, he said 225 of those people will be able to have their jobs back.



To help prevent the contagious respiratory illness from spreading, officials are only allowing 25% capacity at restaurants and retail stores.

The restrictions are more strict for hair and nail salons. Those businesses are only allowed to tend to one customer at a time and workers need to disinfect areas in between appointments, officials said.

To make sure there was enough hospital capacity, Palm Beach went on lockdown April 3. Marinas, community pools, golf courses, and tennis courts reopened April 29.

Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner said access to public beaches begins May 18. Gyms, bars, nightclubs and public libraries are not allowed to reopen yet.


Gov. Ron DeSantis allowed businesses in every county in the state to reopen May 4 -- except for Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

According to the Florida Department of Health, the coronavirus is linked to 238 patients’ deaths in Palm Beach, 258 in Broward and 490 in Dade.

DeSantis warned the federal and state medical quarantines and isolation policies are still in effect for coronavirus patients, some travelers and long-term care facilities.

About the Authors:

Alex Finnie joined the Local 10 News team in May 2018. South Florida is home! She was raised in Miami and attended the Cushman School and New World School of the Arts for high school.

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.